AMOS FORTUNE: FREE MAN by Elizabeth Yates


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This true story of a Negro slave-freeman in eighteenth century New England is an unpleasant, grim story, with sentimental overtones- generally unsuitable for the juvenile level. Amos Fortune lived through the horrors of a slave ship which snatched him from his native Africa where he was prince of his tribe, the humiliation of slavery and later the struggle to live as a freeman in a white community. His final success as a tanner and financial security that allowed him to buy others out of slavery, however, came about through a humble acceptance of his lot, which although it gave him a serene dignity, reminds the reader too much of the legend of the humble, philosophical Negro -- a legend often perpetrated by whites to paint with rose-color an ugly moral stain on our civilization. With so few juveniles about Negroes on the market -- few that would make pleasant reading for colored Americans -- it seems unfortunate that Amos Fortune must be portrayed as a man slow to jump at freedom from his first master, who accepted a segregated pew in church, joked with the auctioneer who sold him, and accepted white domination not without suffering, but with passive resignation. An adult would understand the necessity of this practical standard, but it stands to reason that the average child will not see the story in historical perspective and may apply his misty impressions to the Negro's present situation.

ISBN: 8934928123
Publisher: Aladdin Books