Georgia Center for the Book Presents Ilyon Woo – Master Slave Husband Wife

Georgia Center for the Book Presents Ilyon Woo – Master Slave Husband Wife

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2024 7:00 PM

Location:
Georgia Center for the Book

Decatur Library
215 Sycamore Street
Decatur, Georgia 30030

The remarkable true story of Ellen and William Craft, who escaped slavery through daring, determination, and disguise, with Ellen passing as a wealthy, disabled White man and William posing as "his" slave.

A Cappella Books and Georgia Center for the Book welcome author Ilyon Woo to discuss her important new book, "Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom."

This event is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the venue.

About the Book

In 1848, a year of international democratic revolt, a young, enslaved couple, Ellen and William Craft, achieved one of the boldest feats of self-emancipation in American history. Posing as master and slave, while sustained by their love as husband and wife, they made their escape together across more than 1,000 miles, riding out in the open on steamboats, carriages, and trains that took them from bondage in Georgia to the free states of the North.

Along the way, they dodged slave traders, military officers, and even friends of their enslavers, who might have revealed their true identities. The tale of their adventure soon made them celebrities, and generated headlines around the country. Americans could not get enough of this charismatic young couple, who traveled another 1,000 miles crisscrossing New England, drawing thunderous applause as they spoke alongside some of the greatest abolitionist luminaries of the day—among them Frederick Douglass and William Wells Brown.

But even then, they were not out of danger. With the passage of an infamous new Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, all Americans became accountable for returning refugees like the Crafts to slavery. Then yet another adventure began, as slave hunters came up from Georgia, forcing the Crafts to flee once again—this time from the United States, their lives and thousands more on the line, and the stakes never higher.

With three epic journeys compressed into one monumental bid for freedom, "Master Slave Husband Wife" is an American love story—one that would challenge the nation's core precepts of life, liberty, and justice for all—one that challenges us even now.

About the Author

Ilyon Woo is the New York Times bestselling author of "Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom" and "The Great Divorce: A Nineteenth-Century Mother's Extraordinary Fight Against Her Husband, the Shakers, and Her Times." Her writing has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, Time, and The New York Times, and she has received support for her research from the Whiting Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Antiquarian Society, among other institutions. She holds a BA in the Humanities from Yale College and a PhD in English from Columbia University.