REBELLION AT CHRISTIANA by Margaret Hope Bacon
Kirkus Star

REBELLION AT CHRISTIANA

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

As if timed to provide a concrete confirmation of John Anthony Scott's thesis in Hard Times on My Way (KR, p. 1314, J-490), Rebellion at Christiana tells how escaped slave William Parker organized Christiana county blacks to protect themselves against slave kidnappers from nearby Maryland and thwart enforcement of the Fugitive Slave law. Parker's actions eventually led to the murder of one slave owner who angered a mob while attempting to reclaim three young men, and Parker was forced to flee to Canada. Constitutional historians have usually focused attention on the related case of Castner Hanway, who was charged with treason for refusing to help enforce the law, and who was later acquitted by a sympathetic local jury. That trial is also reviewed here, but interwoven with William Parker's own narrative which he set down during his Canadian exile, and the emphasis is less on the role of Christiana's white Quakers, who were sympathetic accessories, than on the active leadership of Parker -- who opted for active resistance and defended his resort to violence. Parker's first person defense is powerful and straightforward, and Margaret Hope Bacon has buttressed it with the corroborating testimony of other contemporary witnesses to show how the Fugitive Slave Law threatened the peace of one community and how blacks and whites united to oppose it.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1975
Page count: 216pp
Publisher: Crown