Seeking Freedom Out West University of Oklahoma Press, $29.95

sweet-freedom-plains

With its wonderful title, Shirley Ann Wilson Moore’s Sweet Freedom’s Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails, 1841–1869 (University of Oklahoma Press, $29.95) showcases the author’s ability to discover engaging stories, research unlikely but creative sources, and turn a charming phrase to tell a great American tale. Moore’s impressive research discovered unknown stories, often interviews with families who recall the challenges their resolute ancestors faced as a despised people on a tough trail. Moore brings T.H. Jefferson’s story up to date, confirming that in 1846 a president’s son mapped the trail to California, “where industriousness and ingenuity might trump lines of race, caste, and class” and black Americans could live as “human beings worthy of freedom, dignity, and respect.”

Will Bagley, author of South Pass: Gateway to a Continent

Historian Shirley Ann Wilson Moore’s Sweet Freedom’s Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails, 1841-1869 recounts the powerful draw of freedom in Western states for former slaves and their descendants, such as the Monroe Family in Coloma, California. – Courtesy California State Parks, August 7, 2015 –
Historian Shirley Ann Wilson Moore’s Sweet Freedom’s Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails, 1841-1869 recounts the powerful draw of freedom in Western states for former slaves and their descendants, such as the Monroe Family
in Coloma, California.
– Courtesy California State Parks, August 7, 2015 –

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