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

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

4.5 2
by David S. Cecelski
 

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Abraham H. Galloway (1837-1870) 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. He risked his life behind enemy lines, recruited black

Overview

Abraham H. Galloway (1837-1870) 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. He risked his life behind enemy lines, recruited black soldiers for the North, and fought racism in the Union army's ranks. He also stood at the forefront of an African American political movement that flourished in the Union-occupied parts of North Carolina, even leading a historic delegation of black southerners to the White House to meet with President Lincoln and to demand the full rights of citizenship. He later became one of the first black men elected to the North Carolina legislature.
Long hidden from history, Galloway's story reveals a war unfamiliar to most of us. As David Cecelski writes, "Galloway's Civil War was a slave insurgency, a war of liberation that was the culmination of generations of perseverance and faith." 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.

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
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

[Highly recommended] for its examination of Galloway as well as the racial climate of the Civil War.--West Virginia History

A riveting portrait of a real-life African-American icon.--Kam Williams

Beautifully crafted, exhaustively researched and well-argued. . . . Cecelski provides a clear window into the emancipation process.--John David Smith, UNC-Charlotte, in the Charlotte Observer

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

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

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

David S. Cecelski's biography of Abraham H. Galloway, an African American leader in the Civil War era, is a masterpiece of research.--John Cimprich, author of Fort Pillow, a Civil War Massacre, and Public Memory

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

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

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

[A] thrilling biography.--Jim Downs, Huffington Post

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807835661
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
09/29/2012
Edition description:
1
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
An excellent work of scholarship by a top flight historian. I am deeply impressed by the detective work that went into discovering Galloway's story.--Edward E. Baptist, Cornell University

Meet the Author

Historian David S. Cecelski is author of The Waterman's Song: Slavery and Freedom in Maritime North Carolina and co-editor (with Timothy B. Tyson) of Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy.

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The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves' Civil War 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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