Shadrach Minkins : from fugitive slave to citizen

Book Cover
Average Rating
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1997.
Center for Local History Nonfiction
Call Number
Center for Local History Nonfiction
Library Use Only

On February 15, 1851, Shadrach Minkins was serving breakfast at a coffeehouse in Boston when history caught up with him. The first runaway to be arrested in New England under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, this illiterate black man from Virginia found himself the catalyst of one of the most dramatic episodes of rebellion and legal wrangling before the Civil War. In a remarkable effort of historical sleuthing, Gary Collison has recovered the true story of Shadrach Minkins' life and times and perilous flight. His book restores an extraordinary chapter to our collective history and at the same time offers a rare and engrossing picture of the life of an ordinary black man in nineteenth-century North America.

As Minkins' journey from slavery to freedom unfolds, we see what day-to-day life was like for a slave in Norfolk, Virginia, for a fugitive in Boston, and for a free black man in Montreal. Collison recreates the drama of Minkins' arrest and his subsequent rescue by a band of black Bostonians, who spirited the fugitive to freedom in Canada. He shows us Boston's black community, moved to panic and action by the Fugitive Slave Law, and the previously unknown community established in Montreal by Minkins and other refugee blacks from the United States. And behind the scenes, orchestrating events from the disastrous Compromise of 1850 through the arrest of Minkins and the trial of his rescuers, is Daniel Webster, who through the exigencies of his dimming political career, took the role of villain.

Webster is just one of the familiar figures in this tale of an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances. Others, such as Frederick Douglass, Richard Henry Dana, Jr., Harriet Jacobs, and Harriet Beecher Stowe (who made use of Minkins' Montreal community in Uncle Tom's Cabin), also appear throughout the narrative. Minkins' intriguing story stands as a fascinating commentary on the nation's troubled times--on urban slavery and Boston abolitionism, on the Underground Railroad, and on one of the federal government's last desperate attempts to hold the Union together.

More Details
Physical Desc:
294 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
0674802985 (alk. paper)


Includes bibliographical references (pages [229]-277) and index.
Also in This Series
More Like This
Reviews from GoodReads
Loading GoodReads Reviews.
APA Citation (style guide)

Collison, G. L. (1997). Shadrach Minkins: from fugitive slave to citizen. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Collison, Gary Lee, 1947-. 1997. Shadrach Minkins: From Fugitive Slave to Citizen. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Collison, Gary Lee, 1947-, Shadrach Minkins: From Fugitive Slave to Citizen. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Collison, Gary Lee. Shadrach Minkins: From Fugitive Slave to Citizen. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997. Print.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
Staff View
Grouped Work ID:
Go To Grouped Work
Last File Modification Time Oct 03, 2018 04:51:05 AM
Last Grouped Work Modification Time Oct 03, 2018 04:49:02 AM

MARC Record

LEADER01594cam a2200409 a 4500
008960806s1997    mauab    b    001 0beng  
010 |a  96035555
020 |a 0674802985 (alk. paper) |q maps ;
040 |a DLC |c DLC |d DLC |d UtOrBLW
043 |a n-us-va |a n-us-ma |a n-cn-qu
05000 |a E450 |b .M653 1997
08200 |a 973.7/115/092 |a B |2 20
0920 |a VA B MINKINS S
1001 |a Collison, Gary Lee, |d 1947- |0
24510 |a Shadrach Minkins : |b from fugitive slave to citizen / |c Gary Collison.
264 1 |a Cambridge, Mass. : |b Harvard University Press, |c 1997.
300 |a 294 pages : |b illustrations ; |c 25 cm.
336 |a text |b txt |2 rdacontent.
337 |a unmediated |b n |2 rdamedia.
338 |a volume |b nc |2 rdacarrier.
504 |a Includes bibliographical references (pages [229]-277) and index.
651 0 |a Norfolk (Va.) |v Biography.
651 0 |a Boston (Mass.) |v Biography. |0
651 0 |a Montréal (Québec) |v Biography. |0
898 |a qBibliographies.
898 |a qBook.
898 |a English qEnglish.
898 |a qBiography.
907 |a .b13151794 |b 08-05-18 |c 01-25-11
998 |a van |b 08-01-18 |c m |d a |e - |f eng |g mau |h 0
910 |a 418963
903 |a OCLC Holdings Updated 20110802
905 |a MARS
989 |g 1 |i 202024586779 |j 0 |k  - - |l van |o - |p $0.00 |q - |r - |s o |t 1 |e  - - |d  - - |h  - - |u 0 |v 0 |w 0 |x 0 |y .i11426640 |z 01-26-11