By John Hope Franklin
The matriarch of a awesome African American relatives, Sally Thomas went from being a slave on a tobacco plantation, to a ''virtually free'' slave who ran her personal company and bought certainly one of her sons out of bondage. looking for the Promised Land bargains a shiny portrait of the prolonged Thomas-Rapier kinfolk and of the lifetime of slaves prior to the Civil struggle. in line with relatives letters in addition to an autobiography via considered one of Thomas's sons, this extraordinary piece of detective paintings follows a novel team as they stroll the boundary among slave and unfastened, touring around the kingdom looking for a ''promised land'' the place African american citizens will be taken care of with recognize. Their list of those trips presents a bright photograph of antebellum the United States, stretching from New Orleans to St. Louis, from the Overland path to the California Gold Rush, and from Civil conflict battles to steamboat adventures. John desire Franklin and Loren Schweninger weave a compelling narrative that illuminates the bigger issues of slavery and freedom. To a awesome measure, this small kinfolk skilled the total gamut of slavery, witnessing every little thing from the breakup of slave households, brutal punishment, and runaways, to miscegenation, insurrection panics, and slave patrols. in addition they remove darkness from the hidden lives of '' nearly free'' slaves, who maintained shut relationships with whites, maneuvered in the method, and won a wide degree of autonomy. The Thomas-Rapiers have been prepared observers of the human . during the eyes of this unprecedented relations and the indomitable black lady who held them jointly, we witness points of human bondage in a different way hidden from view.
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Additional info for In Search of the Promised Land: A Slave Family in the Old South
47. Acts Passed at the Annual Session of the General Assembly of the State of Alabama; Begun and Held in the City of Tuscaloosa, on the First Monday in December, 1844 (Tuscaloosa: John M’Cormick, 1845), 164. The act was approved January 21, 1845. 48. John Rapier Sr. to Richard Rapier, April 8, 1845, RTP. • 45 • • Two • From Slavery to Freedom S ally Thomas was so well-known in Nashville by the 1840s that many residents thought she was free and owned her own home. She was respected by whites as an industrious, dependable, intelligent, and skillful laundress; she was admired by blacks as a devoted mother and grandmother who had made great sacrifices to protect her family.
In 1829, the executors obtained permission from the Alabama General Assembly “to emancipate a certain male slave by the name of John H. ”18 Sally Thomas was overjoyed. Her eldest son, age twenty-one, was legally free. As Richard Rapier’s personal servant, he had also learned to read and write. Her joy was diminished, however, by the challenge she still faced to free the rest of her family. In October 1827, at the age of forty, she gave birth to her third mulatto son, James, who, according to the laws of Tennessee, was also born a slave.
Thomas, deceased, Will Book 6 (July 14, 1814), 26–27; Last Will and Testament of Margaret Thomas, Will Book 6 (December 14, 1815), 184; Estate of Charles L. Thomas, deceased, Will Book 6 (October 23, 1816), 193–95; Administrator’s Accounts, Estate of Charles L. Thomas, Will Book 9 (1817–1827), 179–91; Division of Land, Estate of Charles L. Thomas, Will Book 9 (May 6, 1826), 267–68; Decree, Division of Slaves, Will Book 9 (November 17, 1825), 260; Deed of Gift, Charles Lewis Thomas (Charles’s son) to John L.