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February 2004

Journey to Freedom · Books for Teens


Brian Burks
Based on the life of George McJunkin, an African American cowboy, and the trek he took as a teen on a long cattle drive from his Texas home, this novel of the old West is an exciting look at a little-known part of American history.

Stealing Freedom
Elisa Carbone
This is another novel based on the amazing life of a historic person. Teenaged Ann Maria Weems escaped slavery on the Underground Railroad to Canada disguised as a boy.

Karen English
Thirteen-year-old Francie wants to take the train out of her little Alabama town and join her father in Chicago. But the first step on her journey will be a dangerous one that she must take on her own—protecting a boy accused of assaulting a white man.

Sound the Jubilee
Sandra Forrester
A chance to escape to the Union Army “contraband” camp for runaway slaves on Roanoke Island is Maddie’s first glimpse of freedom. Her adventures continue in My Home Is over Jordan.

True North
Kathryn Lasky
The lives of a young Boston socialite and a runaway Virginia slave are brought together by the great network of the Underground Railroad in this thrilling tale of escape to Canada.

Color Me Dark: The Diary of Nellie Lee Love—The Great Migration North
Patricia C. McKissack
The great migration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North in search of freedom and prosperity in the decades after the Civil War is dramatized in this story of Nellie Lee Love and her move to Chicago after World War I, part of the “Dear America” series.

White Lilacs
Carolyn Meyer
When a Texas town council decides to tear down the “colored” section of town to make way for a park in 1921, the lives of its African American residents are torn apart. Forced from their homes and threatened if they don’t cooperate, Rose Lee and her neighbors must decide whether to make new lives in their hometown or leave it.

The Glory Field
Walter Dean Myers
Meyers traces two centuries of African American history through the lives of one family, from Muhammad Bilal, the slave captured in Sierra Leone, down to the 1990s, each generation taking strides toward greater freedom.

The Journal of Joshua Loper: A Black Cowboy
Walter Dean Myers
This is another vivid novel of the African American experience in the old West, as teenaged Joshua proves himself on a cattle drive to Kansas.

The Adventures of Midnight Son
Denise Lewis Patrick
Escaping from slavery on a Texas plantation, Midnight Son becomes a cowboy in Mexico. This book and its sequel, The Longest Ride, follow his many adventures.

Sarny: A Life Remembered
Gary Paulsen
Sarny, the slave girl readers first met in Nightjohn, is free at the end of the war. But her long quest to find her sold-away children is just beginning.

George C. Richardson
Johnny, a young escaped slave, yearns to serve as the drummer boy for the Union regiment that took him in, but it is not allowed. Then he hears that a Colored Infantry Unit is being formed, and he is determined to find his way to them.

Taking Liberty: The Story of Oney Judge, George Washington’s Runaway Slave
Ann Rinaldi
Despite being a favored servant to a kind lady (Martha Washington), Oney Judge gradually realizes that freedom is more important than comfort. Based on the real life of a young woman who staked everything for liberty.


The Rise & Fall of Jim Crow: The African-American Struggle against Discrimination, 1865-1954
Richard Wormser
305.896073 W928 1999
The journey to freedom has continued for long years since the Emancipation Proclamation. Read some of the stories of people who faced the Jim Crow laws, segregation, and pervasive racism through decades of American history.

Escape from Slavery: The Boyhood of Frederick Douglass in His Own Words
Frederick Douglass
326 D737Zdm 1994
This is a shortened version of the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became one of the greatest abolitionist speakers of his day.

To Be a Slave
Julius Lester
326.0973 L642
This is a powerful collection of narratives gathered from slaves and former slaves to describe their experiences from Africa to Emancipation and beyond.

Bound for Glory: 1910-1930: From the Great Migration to the Harlem Renaissance
Kerry Candaele
973.0496 C216 1997
Part of the “Milestones in Black American History” series, this volume covers the massive journey of African Americans from the U.S. South to the urban north in an effort to better their lives.

“Bury Me Not in a Land of Slaves”: African-Americans in the Time of Reconstruction
Joyce Hansen
973.049607 H249 2000
The experiences of men and women freed from slavery but facing harsh prejudice, Jim Crow laws, and violent repression are recounted here.

Slaves Who Dared: The Stories of Ten African-American Heroes
Mary Garrison
973.0496073 qG242 2002
Ten extraordinary people who overcame slavery are profiled in this collection, from abolitionist and feminist campaigner Sojourner Truth to cowboy “Deadwood Dick” Nat Love.

The Path to Equality: From the Scottsboro Case to the Breaking of Baseball’s Color Barrier (1931-1947)
Darlene Clark Hine
973.0496073 H662 1995
Social shifts, economic changes, and the influence of two world wars touched off turbulent changes in the lives of African Americans in this period of U.S. history.

From a Raw Deal to a New Deal? African Americans 1929-1945
Joe William Trotter, Jr.
973.0496073 T858 1996
This volume in the “Young Oxford History of African Americans” series covers roughly the same years, some of the most dramatic in African-American history.

Bound for the North Star: True Stories of Fugitive Slaves
Dnnis Brindell Fradin
973.7115 F799 2000
The breathtaking stories of a dozen men and women who fled slavery are recounted in this collection.

North Star to Freedom: The Story of the Underground Railroad
Gena K. Gorrell
973.7115 G673 1997
Gorrell retells more of the unforgettable stories of the thousands who made their way to freedom.

Black, Blue & Gray: African Americans in the Civil War
Jim Haskins
973.7415 qH349 1998
The African Americans who answered the call to arms to fight for freedom are memorialized in this fascinating, illustrated volume.

Mumbet: The Life and Times of Elizabeth Freeman: The True Story of a Slave Who Won Her Freedom
Mary Wilds
974.403092 F855Zw 1999
Decades before the Civil War, Massachusetts slave Elizabeth Freeman sued her master for her freedom, inspired by the Declaration of Independence. And she won.

Slavery Time When I Was Chillun
Belinda Hurmence
975.00496073 S631 1997
These first-hand accounts of life under slavery were written down by workers for the Federal Writers’ Project in the 1930s.

Nat Turner’s Slave Rebellion in American History
Judith Edwards
975.555 T949Ze 2000
Turner’s 1831 uprising against slavery, though it failed to win freedom for him or his fellow slaves, created an uproar of hope, fear, and controversy that inspired freedom fighters for decades.

I Was Born a Slave: The Story of Harriet Jacobs
Jennifer Fleischner
975.6147 qJ17Zf 1997
Based on the autobiography of Harriet Jacobs published as Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl in 1861, this re-telling for young readers gives the story of her life as a slave—and her harrowing escape.