I've Got a Home in Glory Land by Karolyn Smardz Frost
A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad

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Synopsis

It was the day before Independence Day, 1831. As his bride, Lucie, was about to be "sold down the river" to the slave markets of New Orleans, young Thornton Blackburn planned a daring--and successful--daylight escape from Louisville. But they were discovered by slave catchers in Michigan and slated to return to Kentucky in chains, until the black community rallied to their cause. The Blackburn Riot of 1833 was the first racial uprising in Detroit history.

The couple was spirited across the river to Canada, but their safety proved illusory. In June 1833, Michigan's governor demanded their extradition. The Blackburn case was the first serious legal dispute between Canada and the United States regarding the Underground Railroad. The impassioned defense of the Blackburns by Canada's lieutenant governor set precedents for all future fugitive-slave cases.

The Blackburns settled in Toronto and founded the city's first taxi business. But they never forgot the millions who still suffered in slavery. Working with prominent abolitionists, Thornton and Lucie made their home a haven for runaways. The Blackburns died in the 1890s, and their fascinating tale was lost to history. Lost, that is, until a chance archaeological discovery in a downtown Toronto school yard brought the story of Thornton and Lucie Blackburn again to light.

 

About Karolyn Smardz Frost

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Karolyn Smardz Frost is an internationally recognized archaeologist and historian. She lives in Collingwood, Ontario.
 
Published June 24, 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 452 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for I've Got a Home in Glory Land

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A most worthy addition to the literature surrounding American slavery, complementing Mary Kay Ricks's Escape on the Pearl and Mat Johnson's The Great Negro Plot, both to be published in February 2007.

Feb 06 2007 | Read Full Review of I've Got a Home in Glory Land...

Kirkus Reviews

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Canadian archaeologist Frost has spent months and traveled thousands of miles along back roads to trace the lives of runaway slaves, a search that she affectingly describes in the early pages of her book, helped along by the descendants of slaves and slaveholders alike, guarded by a “chivalrous h...

Jan 01 2007 | Read Full Review of I've Got a Home in Glory Land...

The New York Times

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Thornton Blackburn is hardly a household name, but he was an important figure in the history of American slavery.

Jun 17 2007 | Read Full Review of I've Got a Home in Glory Land...

Publishers Weekly

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In 1985, archeologists in downtown Toronto discovered what would become the most highly publicized dig in Canadian history: the remains of a house belonging to former slaves Thornton and Lucie Blackburn, who, as it turns out, were key figures in the Underground Railroad.

| Read Full Review of I've Got a Home in Glory Land...

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