Under the Freedom Tree
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
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Taut free verse tells the little-known story of the first contraband camp of the Civil War seen by some historians as the "beginning of the end of slavery in America." One night in 1861, three escaped slaves made their way from the Confederate line to a Union-held fort. The runaways were declared "contraband of war" and granted protection. As word spread, thousands of runaway slaves poured into the fort, seeking their freedom. These "contrabands" made a home for themselves, building the first African American community in the country. In 1863, they bore witness to one of the first readings of the Emancipation Proclamation in the South beneath the sheltering branches of the tree now known as Emancipation Oak.
About the Author
Susan VanHecke is a journalist, coauthor of Roadwork: Rock & Roll Turned Inside Out and Three Steps to Heaven: The Eddie Cochran Story, and author of Race with the Devil: Gene Vincent's Life in the Fast Lane, which was adapted into an award-winning screenplay.London Ladd is the illustrator of Oprah: The Little Speaker, by Carole Boston Weatherford; and March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World, by Christine King Farris. He lives in Syracuse, New York.