The Price of Freedom in 1848
What was the price of Freedom in 1848?
Upon his death, John Warwick, a Quaker in Lynchburg, Virginia, freed his seventy-five slaves. Virginia law required that freed people had to be moved to a free state and supplied for one year. This law was designed to discourage freeing slaves. Warwick was buried in an unmarked grave to protect his remains from protesting whites. I learned about this story when a descendant of one of the freed people came to my daughter’s farmhouse that had been built on the foundation of the Warwick plantation.
The new Virginia turnpike was the route followed by their wagon train toward Indiana, the state named in the will. The people were constantly confronted with questions about who they were and where they were going.
Their journey was difficult in the winter in the mountains of what now is West Virginia. Slave catchers followed them with the intent to capture some of the people to sell them back into slavery. When they got to Ohio, they faced a tax of five hundred dollars each.
Could they help runaway slaves find a station on the Underground Railroad? The free people had to decide whether to trek on to Indiana and face pending antiblack immigration legislation or settle in Ohio.
The executor bought a large parcel of land in John Warwick’s name on the southwest corner of Indian Lake, Ohio. What would happen when the lake was raised? They were told that blacks had no standing in court to challenge the action. How many of the new community died from malaria? A school was started under separate but equal laws. A wonderful first official marriage recognized by Ohio was celebrated. Were black soldiers treated the same as white soldiers in the Civil War?
The Price of Freedom in 1848 was high . . . and is still being paid today.
Format: 6 x 9 Black & White Paperback, 203 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (Jun 30, 2020)
Genre: FICTION / Historical