The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves' Civil War

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Overview

Abraham H. Galloway (1837-70) was a fiery young slave rebel, radical abolitionist, and Union spy who rose out of bondage to become one of the most significant and stirring black leaders in the South during the Civil War. Throughout his brief, mercurial life, Galloway fought against slavery and injustice. This riveting portrait illuminates Galloway's life and deepens our insight into the Civil War and Reconstruction as experienced by African ...
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The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves' Civil War

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Overview

Abraham H. Galloway (1837-70) was a fiery young slave rebel, radical abolitionist, and Union spy who rose out of bondage to become one of the most significant and stirring black leaders in the South during the Civil War. Throughout his brief, mercurial life, Galloway fought against slavery and injustice. This riveting portrait illuminates Galloway's life and deepens our insight into the Civil War and Reconstruction as experienced by African Americans in the South.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An illiterate but powerful orator, Abraham Galloway escaped from slavery to become a successful Union spy and, later, a Reconstruction-era state senator in North Carolina who, before his early death, advocated for the needs of the newly freed and for women's suffrage. Using Galloway's biography as a framework, Cecelski (The Waterman's Song) weaves North Carolina history with that of the period's African American leaders who lay the groundwork for the Civil Rights movement a full century later. In a few cases Galloway's life-saving penchant for secrecy necessitates admitted-but-believable supposition. However, substantial documentation of circumstantial supporting evidence is provided to flesh out events on both sides of the conflict. Cecelski obviously admires the brash biracial man who infiltrated a Union prison camp and rescued his mother from slavery, but he also reveals the personality quirks of someone so ambitious living with such peculiar social status. Substantial endnotes detail both the abolitionist infrastructure but also the realities of the Union's inconsistencies regarding the fates and handling of both fugitive slaves and black soldiers. Cecelski's marvelous story of a North Carolina slave who transcended his bondage with flair provides a meaningful way to commemorate the sesquicentennial Civil War anniversaries. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"[A] thrilling biography."-- Jim Downs, Huffington Post

"Cecelski's marvelous story of a North Carolina slave who transcended his bondage with flair provides a meaningful way to commemorate the sesquicentennial Civil War anniversaries."--Publishers Weekly

"This portrait of an important American will appeal to those with an interest in African American political history during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras as well as those with an interest in North Carolina history."--Library Journal

"All libraries should purchase this well-written work. . . . Highly recommended. All levels/libraries."--Choice

"Demonstrates the ways slaves claimed the war as their own, not as a war to save the Union as it was, but as a war to save a different kind of Union, one committed to the principles of freedom that included both blacks and whites."--Civil War Book Review

"A masterpiece of research."--The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"Dr. Cecelski shares the story of Abraham Galloway, an important African American leader in the Civil War."--CarolinaCoastOnline.com

"Much more than a biography. . . . The Fire of Freedom makes an important contribution to Civil War scholarship. . . [and] merits a place on the bookshelves of professional scholars, local history enthusiasts, and Civil War buffs because its author takes a good story and makes it matter. Cecelski joins a clear presentation. . . with deep and broad research as well as a gift for infusing historical moments with humanity and tension."--South Carolina Historical Magazine

"We are indebted to Cecelski for challenging long-standing analytical frameworks and reconfiguring assumptions about African American participation in the Civil War."--Journal of American History

"Cecelski has restored Galloway to his rightful place in the historiography. . . . [He] has done a remarkable job of tracing his subject's multifarious contribution to the cause of black freedom and equality."--American Historical Review
"A riveting portrait of a real-life African-American icon."--Kam Williams

"A book that will be important to people who like to read about the Civil War and those interested in the struggle for Civil Rights."--D. G. Martin, The Mountaineer

"Beautifully crafted, exhaustively researched and well-argued. . . . Cecelski provides a clear window into the emancipation process."--Raleigh News & Observer

Library Journal
Cecelski (The Waterman's Song: Slavery and Freedom in Maritime North Carolina) tells the story of Abraham Galloway, a slave who escaped from the South before the Civil War. He became a prominent figure in the abolitionist movement and the struggle for black equality. He served as a spy during the first part of the Civil War, then as a political organizer and state senator representing Wilmington, North Carolina. VERDICT Cecelski's book is important because it shows how slaves were not "given" their freedom by Union armies and politicians, but that they fought for and earned that freedom. Unfortunately, the historical record has left huge gaps in the record of important portions of Galloway's life, and Cecelski is forced into conjecture based on the recorded experiences of individuals in similar circumstances. Nevertheless, this portrait of an important American will appeal to those with an interest in African American political history during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras as well as those with an interest in North Carolina history.—MF
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807835661
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 9/29/2012
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 288,900
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Historian David S. Cecelski is the author, most recently, of The Waterman's Song: Slavery and Freedom in Maritime North Carolina.
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Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Prologue: New Bern, North Carolina, May 1863 xiii

1 At River's Edge 1

2 The Secret Feelings of Their Hearts 13

3 A Second John Brown 27

4 Spies All Their Lives 43

5 They Will Fight to the Death 58

6 My Harte Over Run with Joy 83

7 The Death of a Hero 99

8 The Meeting with Lincoln 115

9 Their Path to Freedom 128

10 God's Free Man 138

11 Soldiers of the Cross 158

12 In This Land We Will Remain 169

13 Loud Calls for Galloway 189

Epilogue 213

Notes 219

Bibliography 283

Acknowledgments 307

Index 309

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Customer Reviews

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