Friday, October 16, 2009

Am I Not A Man by Mark L. Shurtleff



The Back Cover:

An Illiterate slave, Dred Scott trusted in an all-white, slave-owning jury to declare him free. But after briefly experiencing the glory of freedom and manhood, a new state Supreme Court ordered the cold steel of the shackles to be closed again around his wrists and ankles. Falling to his knees, Dred cried, “Ain’t I a man?” Dred answered his own question by rising and taking his fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dred ultimately lost his epic battle when the Chief Justice declared that a black man was so inferior that he had “no rights a white man was bound to respect.”
Dred died not knowing that his undying courage led directly to the election of President Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation.

Dred Scott’s inspiring and compelling true story of adventure, courage, love, hatred, and friendship parallels the history of this nation from the long night of slavery to the narrow crack in the door that would ultimately lead to freedom and equality for all men.


The First Line:

To him, the river sang.

Utah State Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff, first learned the story of Dred Scott while in law school. The heartwrenching tale of Dred Scott, an unassuming black slave, and his battle against longstanding laws of slavery to gain his freedom, and that of his family, not only captured his interest, but it ignited a passion that would take him on a journey of discovery through the annals of history.

Shurtleff's research led him to the actual locations where Dred Scott lived and breathed, toiled and suffered. He was able to breathe life and passion into his rendering of the overwhelming, near insurmountable legal struggle towards the abolition of slavery in the United States of America.

It is an incredible tale, one I knew little about as a Canadian. Through rich details and well-researched historical facts and occurrences, I was drawn into the struggles of the American slaves. Part novel and part non-fiction, this book is one that will survive for generations. It is a great tale of courage, of suffering, of faith, and of soldiering on in the face of adversity.


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