Slavery’s Borderland: Freedom and Bondage along the Ohio River by Matthew Salafia (review)

Slavery’s Borderland: Freedom and Bondage along the Ohio River by Matthew Salafia (review) REVIEWS Slavery's Borderland: Freedom and Bondage along the Ohio River. By Matthew Salafia. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013. Pp. 320. Hardcover, $55.00.) Reviewed by Ted Sickler Matthew Salafia steps into his well-layered study, Slavery's Borderland, with a scene familiar to readers of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. Early in the novel, Eliza, a slave and maid, flees Kentucky with her child by running across a frozen Ohio River in a desperate dash north toward freedom. Dogged by slave hunters that shout at her from the frozen shore, she steps barefoot from one cragged ice block to the next. Will they catch her and return her south to slavery? Frequently drawn or etched in subsequent years by various artists, including a lithograph produced by Currier and Ives, the moment produces the same kind of horror Stowe sought while stoking antislavery furor in 1852. But Salafia argues that viewing the river as simply a historical demarcation between slavery and freedom only underscores a fiction. Rather than a dividing line between northern and southern interests, the Ohio River Valley of the nineteenth century--specifically the borderlands of Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio--is best understood as a complicated region of contested meaning http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

Slavery’s Borderland: Freedom and Bondage along the Ohio River by Matthew Salafia (review)

Journal of the Early Republic, Volume 34 (2)

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
ISSN
1553-0620
Publisher site
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Abstract

REVIEWS Slavery's Borderland: Freedom and Bondage along the Ohio River. By Matthew Salafia. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013. Pp. 320. Hardcover, $55.00.) Reviewed by Ted Sickler Matthew Salafia steps into his well-layered study, Slavery's Borderland, with a scene familiar to readers of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. Early in the novel, Eliza, a slave and maid, flees Kentucky with her child by running across a frozen Ohio River in a desperate dash north toward freedom. Dogged by slave hunters that shout at her from the frozen shore, she steps barefoot from one cragged ice block to the next. Will they catch her and return her south to slavery? Frequently drawn or etched in subsequent years by various artists, including a lithograph produced by Currier and Ives, the moment produces the same kind of horror Stowe sought while stoking antislavery furor in 1852. But Salafia argues that viewing the river as simply a historical demarcation between slavery and freedom only underscores a fiction. Rather than a dividing line between northern and southern interests, the Ohio River Valley of the nineteenth century--specifically the borderlands of Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio--is best understood as a complicated region of contested meaning

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

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