America in the 1800s

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Ruth's Redemption
Marlene Banks

INSPIR BANKS-BENN

Set in the 1800s, this is an unusual depiction of the lives of slaves and free blacks in pre-Civil War America. Bo was educated while a slave. He was given his freedom and now owns a farm buying slaves for the sole purpose of giving them their freedom.


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The Last Runaway
Tracy Chevalier

CHEVALIER

Forced to leave England and struggling in the wake of a family tragedy, Quaker Honor Bright is forced to rely on strangers in the harsh landscape of 1850 Ohio and is compelled to join the Underground Railroad network to help runaway slaves escape to freedom.


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Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker
Jennifer Chiaverini

CHIAVERINI

This novel illuminates the friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, a former slave who won her freedom by the skill of her needle, and the friendship of the first lady by her devotion.


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The House Girl: A Novel
Tara Conklin

CONKLIN

Virginia, 1852: Josephine Bell decides to run from the failing tobacco farm where she is a slave and nurse to her ailing mistress, the aspiring artist Lu Anne Bell. New York City, 2004: Lina Sparrow, first-year law associate must find the “perfect plaintiff” to lead a historic class-action lawsuit worth trillions of dollars in reparations for descendants of American slaves.


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The Known World: A Novel
Edward P. Jones

JONES

Caldonia Townsend is an educated black slave owner, the widow of a well-loved farmer whose parents had bought their own freedom, and then freed their son, only to watch him buy himself a slave as soon as he had saved enough money.


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The Long Song: A Novel
Andrea Levy

LEVY

A tale inspired by 19th-century Jamaica’s emancipation finds the willful slave Miss July moving into her mistress’s great house, where she becomes a valuable confidante, learns to read and witnesses the Baptist War.


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Property: A Novel
Valerie Martin

MARTIN

The tragedies and repercussions of slavery in the antebellum South are seen through the eyes of slave owner Manon Gaudet, who marries the owner of a sugar plantation, only to see her own slave, Sarah, become her husband’s mistress.


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Beloved
Toni Morrison

MORRISON

Sethe, an escaped slave living in post-Civil War Ohio with her daughter and mother-in-law, is haunted by the ghost of her dead baby girl.


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The Healing
Jonathan Odell

ODELL

Concerned about his wife’s grief over the loss of their daughter and worrying about a mysterious illness that is afflicting his slaves, Master Satterfield purchases a slavewoman known as a healer only to be unsettled by her troubling predictions.


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Wench: A Novel
Dolen Perkins-Valdez

PERKINS-VALDEZ

Slave mistresses Lizzie, Reenie, and Sweet travel to a resort in Ohio each year with their white masters, until Mawu shows up and encourages them to escape, forcing them to choose between freedom and leaving their friends and families.


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The Rebel Wife: A Novel
Taylor M. Polites

POLITES

This is the story of a young widow trying to survive the violent world of Reconstruction Alabama, where the old gentility masks a continuing war fueled by hatred, treachery and still-powerful secrets.


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Wash
Margaret Wrinkle

WRINKLE

When a troubled Revolutionary War veteran requires his slave, Washington, to become a breeding sire, Washington’s resolve to stay faithful to his West African spiritual legacy leads to a loving relationship with an enslaved healer woman.


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Twelve Years a Slave
Solomon Northup

BIOGRAPHY NORTHUP

In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.


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A Stronger Kinship: One Town's Extraordinary Story of Hope and Faith
Anna-Lisa Cox

HISTORY US MICHIGAN COX

A close-up study of Covert, Michigan, describes how this small town, beginning in the 1860s, created a unique, fully integrated community that emphasized complete equality, a sharing of power and wealth between blacks and whites, and racial intermarriage, drawing on diaries, oral history, and period records to describe how residents made this town work in the face of the era’s pervasive racism.


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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave & Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs

HISTORY US 19TH DOU

Presents an autobiography of the famous abolitionist and statesman who escaped to the North after twenty-one years of enslavement, and reveals the exploitation of American American female slaves through first-person narrative.


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The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832
Alan Taylor

HISTORY US TAY

Drawn from new sources, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian presents a gripping narrative that recreates the events that inspired hundreds of slaves to pressure British admirals into becoming liberators by using their intimate knowledge of the countryside to transform the war.


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Lincoln
Rated PG-13

DRA DVD LIN

In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come.


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Roots
Not Rated

TV DVD ROO

Follows several generations in the lives of a slave family. The saga begins with Kunta Kinte, a West African youth captured by slave raiders and shipped to America in the 1700s. The family is depicted up until the Civil War, when Kunte Kinte’s grandson gains his emancipation.


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