All Different Kinds Of Free

All Different Kinds Of Free

by Jessica Mccann

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611940053
Publisher: BelleBooks
Publication date: 04/01/2011
Pages: 274
Sales rank: 626,993
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

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All Different Kinds of Free 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Mel_in_AZ More than 1 year ago
You won't want to put this book down once you start reading. Living, breathing, feeling, three-dimensional characters are trapped within the backdrop of a painful period in American history, setting the tone for this historical fiction novel. During the pre-Civil War era, a free black woman from Pennsylvania and her free children are forced back into slavery at the hands of a ruthless bounty hunter from Maryland. Such events create the aching pulse of this sad, but uplifting, debut by Jessica McCann. All Different Kinds of Free reminds us of the strength of hope, the bonds of family, and the power of love. It's also a reminder of the liberties we so often take for granted. A must read. Gripping. A page-turner by an up-and-coming voice in historical fiction.
nyauthoress More than 1 year ago
The 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War approaches. Sound the trumpet for a novel where justice, personal liberty and self-reliance are celebrated by a writer who has the savvy to make her voice ring. An obscure 1842 Supreme Court Case is the backdrop for this compelling book. All Different Kinds of Free, a historical fiction novel based on true events, is really the story of Margaret Morgan, a free woman of color from Pennsylvania who is abducted and sold into slavery. The court case received moderate visibility in historical records. The author states that the details of Margaret's life are frustratingly omitted from historical documents; however McCann has created a gripping tale of Margaret and her fight for freedom. Stolen freedom is appalling. "Don't lose hope," Margaret reassures her children who are also kidnapped, ".when something's lost, it can be found again." Jessica McCann, an established non-fiction writer and editor broadens her talents and becomes a historical fiction author to watch. All Different Kinds of Free won the 2009 Freedom in Fiction Prize, an international award recognizing the best unpublished work of fiction championing the values of a free, truly compassionate society. Some detail about the Supreme Court Case is woven into the narrative to give us proper perspective. Even there, the author is careful to tie in the plight of victims like Margaret. "Better a thousand slaves escape," says the civil rights litigator, "than should one free man be thus carried into remediless slavery." Margaret's story, however dominates the novel. Her experiences are as horrendous as the reader can imagine, but she uses courage, indomitable strength and faith in God as weapons against the inhumanity heaped upon her. McCann expertly endears us to Margaret's heart. Somewhat overdone are the extensive use of questions and Margaret's internal thoughts. McCann could have highlighted a landmark, albeit obscure Supreme Court case that spurred us toward the Civil War. Instead, using vivid storytelling, she enlightens the more salient issue through an unforgettable character "demanding" to be treated as a human being who safeguarded her soul against all onslaughts. For a century and a half, people have argued over the Civil War being about state's rights or freedom of the enslaved. All Different Kinds of Free weighs heavily on the human side- the preservation of the dignity of the individual. Does Margaret prevail? Read the book to find out. Does McCann succeed? Strikingly so. She is an author venturing into a new genre with boldness and heart and has given us a riveting read. I thank Bell Ridge Books for supplying a copy of this book. The opinions in my review are unbiased and wholly my own. Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont
nfmgirl More than 1 year ago
Margaret grew up as a free black woman in the south, born to two slaves who were freed by their owner before she was born. She marries an ex-slave who is now free, and they move north, settle their own homestead and have a few kids. They have a wonderful life together. Then Margaret is kidnapped by a man sent by her parents' previous owner, who claims that she is a runaway slave. Based on real historical characters, this is one of those absorbing stories that can keep you on the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen to Margaret and her children. Little is known about Margaret, other than the fact that she lost the case against Pennsylvania that concerned her. This book speculates about how her life may have gone. Margaret is a strong woman, living a blessed life with her husband and children, when Edward Prigg forcibly takes her and her children from her home and returns her to the widow of the man who once owned her parents. I really enjoyed this story, although there were a few characters that seemed to have been inserted into the story for no real purpose, such as the character of Rose McFarland. She was a spirited and intelligent young woman that I would have been interested in getting to know better, but instead she was introduced briefly and then disappeared from the story again. It left me wondering why make a character so intriguing and likable just to have her be a momentary distraction? My final word: Simple and unadorned, this hard-hitting story will leave you rooting for Margaret and her family, hoping against hope that she regains the freedom stolen from her. If you like fictional stories about slavery and the struggle to overcome, pick up this book!
Dragon_Riders More than 1 year ago
Jessica McCann has written an incredible story of courage and hope, as seen through the eyes of her main character, a free black woman who is kidnapped and forced into slavery by her parents' former masters. If you love historical fiction, you will love this novel. It's suspenseful, emotional and ultimately leaves the reader with a sense of hope, even after all Margaret endures. It also leaves the reader wondering what will happen next. It's not a neat, cut & dry ending, which is actually one of the strengths of this incredible book. You won't be disappointed.
ReenaJacobs More than 1 year ago
I have to say, I wasn’t impressed with the blurb. I’m glad I’d forgotten it by the time All Different Kinds of Free reached the top of my list, cause I might have passed it over for another work. In this case, I let the cover reel me in, and didn’t even bother with the blurb before flicking through the pages. The story started innocent enough. Margaret lived up North where blacks were free despite slavery continuing in the south. When a bounty hunter arrived on the scene, claiming Margaret was a runaway slave but had no papers, even the Pennsylvania laws supported her rights. Then all hell broke loose. Margaret and her children were stolen from their home in the dead of night. When they reached their southern destination, it became apparent Blacks had absolutely no voice in the South. The people in control were willing to do just about anything to ensure nothing changed their way of life. When all was said and done, Margaret and her children were sold into slavery without due process of the law Despite knowing things like that happened in the past, I tend to stay blissfully ignorant about the harsh realities. This book shattered my rose tinted glasses. I cried… I cannot express to you how heartbroken I was over events in this book. At times, the kind of tears I shed were the rare ones I drown in the shower so no one can hear the accompanying sobs. It saddened me to think folks would treat others so inhumanely, worse than animals. I’d like to think slaves were too valuable a commodity to neglect to the point starvation or disease claimed them in mass — as if there were replacements waiting around the bend — but I know not everyone is kind or rational. Over all, this work was a roller coaster of ups and downs. One passage stood out and summarized the stakes well. Before Margaret and her children were sold into slavery, she told her daughter, Emma: “And, most important of all, don’t lose hope. You were free once. Emma, you were. We all were. We lost our freedom, and it’s not fair. But when something gets lost, it can be found again. Just because we don’t see something anymore, doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. Remember that. Promise me you’ll remember that.” Despite the words of encouragement, it was difficult for Margaret to stay strong. Each time Margaret was given a piece of hope, it was snatched away. Every blow left a chip in her armor, until I questioned if she’d ever recover from all the disappointments. It’s been a while since a book has hit me so strongly on an emotional level. This is definitely one of the best reads I’ve read this year. If you’re up for a work which will truly make you feel (sadness, outrage, hope, joy), I highly recommend this book. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.
patsypacker More than 1 year ago
In searching for "good" books to download onto my new reader, I discovered: All Different Kinds of Free by Jessica McCann. This book depicts a free black family living a quiet and rewarding life in Pennsylvania. It took one dark night for everything to change when a bounty hunter sent by Margret Morgan's former owner, Mrs. Ashworth, captures Margaret and her two sons and a daughter. This begins a tragedy of days, weeks and months that eventually turned into years filled with turmoil, despair, conniving, anguish and other emotions that result when her family is literally torn apart. Supreme Court involvement merely makes a mockery of what justice should provide! This historical fiction novel is based on a real person(Margaret Morgan), real events and is filled with real emotion. The story of Margaret Morgan was so very real to me and I agonized in her plight to just be "free". We need to be reminded of these tragic stories and realize that although life never came easy for any of us. However, for the slaves it was a matter of total rejection as a human being and more. Once I began this book, I could not put it down- - -and it was worth every minute of that time and concentration. It is a powerful historical account of slavery- - something we need to be reminded of as to how it molded and shaped our country. Jessica McCann is a gifted author who can, by her words, draw you smack into the time and place of these events. It made me realize what a great movie this story would make! I LOVE THIS BOOK and I can assure you that it will be held on my reader to read again and again.
The_Book_Diva More than 1 year ago
I often hesitate when reading a book about slavery, especially slavery within the United States. This can be a very emotional subject for many of African-American descent. I wish I could say that All Different Kinds of Free by Jessica McCann wasn't an emotionally-charged read, but it was . . . in a very good way. Ms. McCann provides a poignant bordering on tragic fictionalization of the life of Margaret Morgan and family. Margaret was born to freed slaves of Mr. Ashmore and grew up free in Maryland. She was taught to read by Mrs. Ashmore. She marries Jerry Morgan, a freed slave, and they have three children -- Sammy, Johnny and Emma. When tensions rise in Maryland due to an attempted slave revolt, they move to Philadelphia where Blacks are treated with humanity and a sense of respect. Margaret is an accomplished seamstress and quite happy with her life in Pennsylvania. Jerry works as a teamster and earns enough to keep his family clothed and well fed. All is well with the Morgans until the day Edward Prigg comes to Philadelphia. Prigg asserts that he is a bounty-hunter looking for a runaway slave of Mrs. Ashmore, Margaret Morgan. His quest is thought to be thwarted when the Pennsylvania courts rule that since he doesn't have papers showing ownership the Morgans remain free. However, Mr. Prigg doesn't like to be told no and mounts a late-night capture of Margaret Morgan and her children. Before they know it, they are back in Maryland with the intent of being sold to offset Mrs. Ashmore's debts. Thus begins a fight between the states of Pennsylvania and Maryland on state rights. Pennsylvania in 1835 is a state that presumes a Black man or woman is free and since the state doesn't recognize slavery, goes out of its way to protect the rights of these men and women. Maryland is a slave state and presumes that any Black man or woman seen out and about is a slave or a runaway and the only rights to be protected are those of the slaves' owners. While Margaret and her children languish in a jail cell, Maryland and Pennsylvania launch a battle that is taken all the way to the Supreme Court. Margaret even tries to sue Mrs. Ashmore to prove that she was born free, but she isn't allowed to question anyone in court, have an attorney protect her interests or present evidence on her behalf so she loses. What follows is heart-wrenching. Margaret and her children are prepared for sale and her sons are sold to two different slave owners. Margaret and Emma are sold together to a slave-owner from South Carolina that has started his own "breeding" program. Although Margaret is intended to be a house slave, her attitude gets her beaten and raped on the first night at the plantation. She does eventually find her "place" acting as a nurse to the other slaves. She and Emma are permitted to grow foods that supplement the allotted foods to the slaves as well as herbs used to treat their sicknesses. Meanwhile, back in Maryland, Mrs. Ashmore is starting to have a change of heart. She has become "friends" with her one remaining slave, Jim. Jim finds a way to get messages to Margaret using the Underground Railroad. Later when he is freed, Jim leaves Maryland for South Carolina to purchase the freedom of Margaret and Emma, with the blessings of Mrs. Ashmore. The results are less than spectacular. All Different Kinds of Free is not light-hearted but it is a well-written and thought-provoking read.
skstiles612 More than 1 year ago
I love history. I am always amazed when an author can bring something new to the table to make me say, "wait a minute, I didn't know anything about this piece of history". It is this type of work that sends me to my computer to research the actual historical event. So it is with this book. I was unaware of the court case that was one of the biggest things to lead up to the Civil War. The author took a court case from 1842 and built her story around it. This is the story of Margaret Morgan who was a free woman, married to a free man. She lived in Pennsylvania. One day she and her children are kidnapped from their home and sold into slavery. The men who kidnapped them was tried and found guilty. However, they appealed it to the Supreme Court. The decision made by that court set the wheels of the Civil War in motion. Through the telling of this story we experience with Margaret the selling of her children and the other atrocities she must endure. We also watch her cling to her faith letting them know that it is the one thing they cannot possess. I will definitely recommend this to all of the history teachers I work with and to all history buffs.
JoyAnneTN More than 1 year ago
Mama always told me bad things happen on Wednesdays, 'cause it's the middle of the week and the Lord just ain't looking then. I never really understood what she meant by that, because I thought the Lord was always supposed to be looking. I'm grown now, and Mama's long since gone. But, oh, how I pray she was wrong about Wednesdays and that the Good Lord is looking down on York County, Pennsylvania this day. Smart, hard-working, educated. A proud wife and mother. As a free woman of color in the 1830's, Margaret Morgan lived a comfortable life and envisioned a good future for her family, until the day her former owner sent a vicious bounty hunter to return her and her children to Maryland. Thrown back into a brutally cruel system, Margaret did the unthinkable in that era: she took her case to court. Her fate would to be determined by the laws of a time when one state considered her a citizen but another saw her as property. The landmark case of Prigg vs. Pennsylvania sewed the bitter seeds of the states' rights battle that would lead eventually to the Civil War. But the heart of this story is not a historic Supreme Court ruling, it is the remarkable, unforgettable, Margaret Morgan. Her life would never be the same. Her family had been torn apart. Uncaring forces abused her body and her heart. Yet she refused to give up; refused to stop fighting; refused to allow her soul to be enslaved. This vivid, true story will draw readers deep into the heartbreak, terror, courage and indomitable pride of one heroic woman. My Thoughts: Margaret is a fascinating character, strong and courageous. Her story is inspiring and terrifying. Throughout the horrific incidents she and her family go through Margaret never loses faith or hope. I can't imagine what it would feel like watching your children being taken away as slaves but newcomer McCann has written in a way that gives you a bit of insight. Jessica McCann has given us a book, beautifully written, that will keep you reading from cover to cover. Grab a tissue. All Different Kinds of Free gets 5 stars! I was given a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Title: All Different Kinds of Free Publisher: Bell Bridge Books Pub Date: 04/02/2011 ISBN: 9781611940053
LivingPeacefully More than 1 year ago
Jessica McMann weaves a beautifully sad and touching story around the known facts about Margaret Morgan, whose story prompted Prigg vs. Pennsylvania and began the fight concerning states rights that would later lead to the civil war in her book, All Different Kinds Of Free. The story follows Margaret, a free black woman, who is kidnapped by a bounty hunter, along with her children. The book is beautifully written, pulling the reader in so that they may feel what Maragaret did as she has everything taken from her and conveying what it truly meant to be black in America prior to the civil war. The book had me on the verge of tears the entire time I read it, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone. Disclaimer: A complimentary copy was provided by Bell Bridge Books.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Mr. Edward Prigg of Mill Green, Maryland arrived in York County, Pennsylvania seeking Margaret Morgan a free woman of color. He gets Constable McCleary to assist him in bringing back to her owner Margaret Ashmore a runaway slave, Margaret Morgan; she insists otherwise and that they were neighbors for years. Mr. Prigg also claims Morgan's children belong to Ashmore. However since she was born free, she has no papers of manumission. Judge Henderson states in accordance with Pennsylvania statue Personal Liberty Law, the bounty hunter must prove with documents the claim. Mr. Prigg kidnaps Margaret and her children with plans to sell them at auction while her husband Jerry was making a delivery in Trenton. This is the beginning of the Morgan family ordeal as Margaret does the unthinkable for a colored person as she fights for her freedom through the court system ending in a decision in 1842. All Different Kinds of Free is a super timely historical biographical fiction told mostly in the first person by the heroine as she works diligently to regain her freedom all the way up to the Supreme Court in 1842. Margaret makes the story line work as she refuses to give up her quest for the wrongful stealing of her freedom so that she can return to her family. Mindful of the current fervor over documentation vs. profiling, readers will understand why Jessica McCann's insightful look at the blood, sweat and tears of a family trying to regain what was taken from them won the 2009 Freedom in Fiction Prize. Harriet Klausner
pinkcrayon99 on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Jerry and Margaret Morgan were making a comfortable life for themselves and their three children in Pennsylvania. They lived a very modest lifestyle as a free family of color. Their life was changed forever when Margaret and the children were abducted by a slave tracking bounty hunter.When debts and a greedy daughter started to weigh heavily upon Mrs. Ashmore she remembered some property she could sell. Knowing that her husband had never given any of his slaves official papers of freedom, Mrs. Ashmore hired Edward Prigg to bring Margaret Morgan her children back to Mill Green, MD. Margaret's parents were owned by the Ashmore Family but Margaret was born shortly after they were freed. Margaret had never known a life of slavery.Pennslyvania law intercepted Mrs. Ashmore and her daughter's plans temporarily. Pennslyvania and Maryland had conflicting laws about laying claim to slaves in another state. Margaret soon found out that the law was not on the side of Black people free or not. Margaret and her children were eventually sold into slavery. Two sons never to be found again. Margaret and her daughter Emma were sold together to a rice farming plantation owner located in South Carolina. Jerry was devasted yet determined to find his family and bring them back to Pennsylvania.While Margaret and Emma were suffering the trials of slavery in South Carolina, a young district attorney was taking her case to the US Supreme Court. Margaret was unaware of all this because she was simply trying to survive. The young attorney only seemed to be concerned with setting a precedent within the justice system and not the human life that was involved. Margaret was never sought out by anyone but her husband and friends. Being a talented cook and seamstress allowed Margaret small yet cherished privileges on the plantation. When an unexpected letter came to her through a secret network later to be known as the "Undergroung Railroad", Margaret found renewed hope.All Different Kinds of Free gave me the feel of a book where the subject matter had not been thoroughly researched. There was an overall mundane feeling to this novel. The story had it's high points but there were also times that I said (out loud), "really." My best description I can give of this novel is, empty. McCann had great character development but the story itself was somewhat bland.
MarcusH on LibraryThing 21 days ago
This is a fictional story with a lot of historical facts thrown in, so it seems like one is reading a true story. The abuse, degradation, and humilitation that Margaret Morgan and other slaves suffered is very real, and draws the reader into the story. Margaret Morgan was a freed slave, but due to her supposed previous owner, Margaret and her young children get kidnapped and sold at a slave auction to ruthless land owners. There are many emotional ups and downs throughout this story and McCann truly shows that there are all different kinds of free.
CandyH on LibraryThing 21 days ago
This is a tremendous story of a freed woman and her family being sold into slavery. The story deals with the indignities and humiliations that slaves had to cope with. The ending was a bit of a disappointment as this was such an interesting story. Maybe the ending just means there will be a sequel. Even though it is a fictional story, many historical facts are used to create this tale. All in all it is well worth reading.
lgura on LibraryThing 21 days ago
A fictional story of Margaret Morgan, based on historical facts, her story of being torn from her family and freedom in Pennsylvania is a heart-rending tale of bravery and perseverance in the face of nearly impossible circumstances. Margaret was born free to a benevolent man in Mill Green, Maryland, and enjoyed learning to read, master the skill of sewing, and is quite accomplished. Eventually she marries Jerry Morgan, a freed man and they settle near Philadelphia in a serene cottage near the city. To Margaret's horror, the daughter of the man who gave her mother her freedom, convinces her own mother to claim ownership of Margaret and her children, and sends an evil bounty hunter to capture the family. Margaret and her daughter are sold into slavery in South Carolina, her sons are sold to unknown owners, and she waits to be saved by her husband to no avail. Desperately she tries to sue for her freedom, only to learn that her case is a sham. Meanwhile in Philadelphia, the case against her bounty hunter is bound for the Supreme Court, one of the events setting the stage for the Civil War. The plot and details of Margaret's and the other character's stories are compelling. Jessica McCann is an excellent writer, yet I found the level of writing to be more along the line of youthful or young-adult level. There were also some idioms in the book that did not seem realistic for the time and place (eg. "knee high to a grasshopper." I would definitely recommend this to a young reader, but probably not to a peer.
BALE on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Jessica McCann successfully portrays one of America¿s unsung heroes in the years leading up to the civil war. She illustrates the unbearable struggles of a free black woman and her family. While she is free by virtue of her papers, she is not as it relates to the, very loose, interpretation of the constitutional laws of the time. Part of this story is based upon actual events. Yet, it can be said that the hero in this story is a symbol for all of the unknown heroes who fought for and contributed to the emancipation of slaves. The difference is, this woman initiated a lawsuit that ultimately resulted in a Supreme Court action between Pennsylvania and Maryland. This played a part in the upheaval that eventually turned into the Civil War. McCann handles this story with grace and dignity. She shows us the base nature of slave owners (and/or its proponents) and the fear and determination of those who were enslaved. In doing so, she reveals slavery for what it was - an unethical and gross debasement of human beings for personal gain and unchecked immoral behavior. In this story, the enslaved are not yet liberated. However, we feel its pulse, its tension, ready to break free. This is the magic of McCann¿s writing. The reader always feels on the edge of hope; the kind that conquers all and allows everyone to be truly free. If only there was one kind of freedom instead of, ¿all different kinds of free.¿
Clerdly on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I have to say that overall this is a good book. It is well written and held my attention throughout. The author took a significant risk in choosing a subject matter that lacked a lot of historical information. Margaret existed but the circumstances of the time in which she lived all but eradicated her story. Jessica McCann has made an admirable effort to resurrect that story. As a practical matter I think that the story could have been longer. It almost seemed abrupt at times. A solid B.
Janine2011 on LibraryThing 21 days ago
This was a very hard book to read. Its a historical fiction very loosely based on the live of a African american woman, Margaret, who was kidnapped from being a free person and sold into slavery and endured a hard life of abuse. Very loosely based because very little is known of the actual woman after the famous court case where the Supreme Court overturned the Pennsylvania court conviction of kidnap and basically affirmed slavery as legal. The author did a fantastic job of describing the horrors of slavery and guilt that Some white people had in participating in such a horrible system. The descriptions of sexual abuse were very hard to read but were probably a fact of life for many African american women in slavery days. Even though this is a book of fiction it is a very important work and should be read by all women, no matter the colour of their skin.
cammykitty on LibraryThing 21 days ago
In [All Different Kinds of Free], Jessica McCann takes a well known court case from the 1830s and follows the part of the story history forgot. Prigg vs Pensylvania pitted the values of slave-holding Maryland against the abolitionist-centered values of Pennsylvania in a case that ultimately became about states rights. The lives of the African-Americans who were kidnapped by Prigg seemed to be forgotten by the court, and certainly has been lost by history. McCann tries to recreate the lives of the people who were the real victims of this case. The novel is clearly well researched. The subject matter is extremely interesting. However, I found my attention drifting. The historical information didn't feel well integrated with the story and there were areas where the story arc didn't feel tied together. I got to a certain point in the story and think, "Well that's wrapped up. They're as good as dead." I wanted to put the book down at that point and quit reading. I'm glad I didn't though. The ending was worth it, but it isn't a book I would want to read again and again.
book58lover on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Margaret Morgan is the central character in this fictionalized account of slavery pre-Civil War and the subject of a supreme court case, Prigg v. Pennsylvania. It is difficult to make a case interesting, and in fact it isn't discussed much. The story is more about how Margaret comes to be involved in the case and the horrid things that happened to her and her family which never should have been allowed. I thought it would be horribly sad, and in fact it was, but the ending was uplifting and hopeful. The story is propelling me to investigate the case and learn more about it, which is what an author can hope for.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Reason for Reading: I love historical fiction set in this time period about this subject.A magnificent, heart-felt, compelling read. I just loved this book. What an unimaginably brutal, yet inspiring story. A woman's life is torn apart; she is put into bondage and yet she continues to keep her spirit free and full of hope. What is most surprising about this story is that the main character actually existed, though very little is known about her. The author has given this important though obscure historical figure a chance to have her story known and given her a possible life she may have lead. If this is not exactly how she lead her life, it certainly was the lot of many a "Negro" woman and her family in the early 1800's in America's dark past. Margaret is a riveting character whom one connects with right from the beginning. The cast of secondary characters are also vividly portrayed. The bounty hunter, Prigg, sums up all the evil and prejudice of the times in one person, making him a very disturbing character.This was a page-turner for me. The historical aspect was appreciated for its relative obscurity. But mostly it was a story that hit my heart and while nothing surprising happens plot-wise, I was invested in the characters and deeply satisfied with the ending.
CharlesBoyd on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Based on the Author's Note at the back of "All Different Kinds of Free," almost nothing is known about Margaret Morgan's life except that she and her children, who may or may not have been excaped slaves, were kidnapped in 1837 by Ed Prigg in Pennyslvania and taken to Maryland and given to Margaret Ashmore who may or may not have owned Morgan and her children previously. Similarly, the author, Jessica McCann writes "The references you will find in Prigg v. Pennsylvania in history books are typically brief and lack details about the people involved." So this book is perhaps much more fiction than is the case with a typical historical novel.She also gives some details of Prigg v. Pennsylvania, the case before the Supreme Court where Ed Prigg was found innocent of violating Pennysylvania's Personal Liberty Law because it violated the federal Fugitive Slave Law of 1787, though there apparently isn't much known about the case other than the court's ruling. I wish I'd read the Author's Note first, because I was frustrated while reading the novel, wanting to know more about the case.So, McCann had lots of room to weave whatever tale she wished to. For the most part, it was engaging and somewhat compelling. The details of Margaret Morgan's life that McCann made up were believable based on everything I've read about slavery in America. On the back cover: "A terrific historical novel---well executed, emotinally engaging, illuminating an important Supreme Court case and the heart of a heroic woman." This by Jewell Parker Rhodes, an African American, and the author of "Douglass Woman," a fine novel about Frederick Douglass. Judging from the black-and-white photograph at the back of the book, Jessica McCann is white. I metion this as neither a positive or negative thing, but because it may provide some perspective on the author.It was good to learn about this important part of American history and Prigg v. Pennyslvania, but, for me, this was more a Disney version, at least when Disney movies were pretty tame, than a novel for adults. It's Slavery Light. For this reader at least, pretty much all the empathy and sympathy I had for Morgan and her family were generated within me rather than from the text. In the novel, "True Grit," later made into a movie and much later made into another movie, the girl Matty seeks out Marshall Rooster Cogburn because she's heard he has "grit." It would have improved "All Different Kinds of Free," if it had had more "grit." With due respect to Jewell Parker Rhodes, this novel was not very "emotionally engaging," at least not without a lot of input from the reader. So, is this novel not worth reading? It is worth reading for reasons already noted. But it's perhaps more suited for readers who would be disturbed by a more starkly realistic novel, certainly it's suited for middle-school and high school students. It is ironic that it gets a plug from Jewell Parker Rhodes, whose "Douglass' Women," is a more compelling, gritty adult novel. All of that said, I am glad I read it and find it a creditable debut novel. Were it more of an adult novel, I'd have given it four stars rather than three and a half stars.
SusieBookworm on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Margaret Morgan grew up a free black woman in Maryland. Now married, living with her husband and three children on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Margaret is living a happy life - until one day in 1837, she and her children are kidnapped and taken back to Maryland to be sold as slaves. But Margaret fights back, first by taking her kidnapper to court and then by small steps in her new life. Her story also becomes the jumpstart to the states' rights controversy in the Supreme Court ruling of Prigg vs. Pennsylvania, a ruling which precluded the bitter conflicts that would begin the Civil War.I made a mistake reading this right after the magnificent writing in The Printmaker's Daughter, because half of what I could think about the entire time I was reading All Different Kinds of Free was how much better Katherine Govier's writing is. McCann is still a decent writer, but I felt like the actual character of Margaret Morgan could have been developed more. She came off as surprisingly naïve at times, given that she read Emerson and similar authors and was really a very intelligent woman. Also, I noticed several punctuation errors and inconsistant spellings in my copy of the book, which appeared to be a finished copy.My pet peeves aside, I did appreciate the history presented in this novel. The court case was an interesting precursor to the states' rights issues that would split the country in the coming decades, while Margaret's side of the story provided an in-depth look at slavery from an unusual perspective. I wouldn't say the book was enjoyable, because, as books on slavery often go, the subject is a tough one to read about. McCann does an excellent job presenting the hardships and injustice of slaves' lives, and readers can instantly connect on an emotional level to the heart-wrenching traumas faced by Margaret and her family. Despite its other shortcomings, All Different Kinds of Free was an affecting and educational read.
milibrarian on LibraryThing 21 days ago
In 1837, Margaret Morgan, a free Negro, and her children are kidnapped from their Pennsylvania home and taken to Maryland, a slave state. Here her parents' former mistress claims that they are runaways and plans to auction them off to pay her debts. Margaret is not willing to give up her freedom without a fight. Pennsylvania charges and convicts her kidnapper, but Maryland contends that under the Fugitive Slave Act, the kidnapper was acting within his rights. The case eventually ends up before the Supreme Court.This is a story not only about the brutality of slavery, but also the fortitude of the human spirit as seen in Margaret's refusal to simply accept her circumstances. Her brave fight is the heart of this story based upon a real case (Prigg v. Pennsylvania) which was instrumental in shaping the conflict over states rights and eventually led to the Civil War. The historical case is interwoven through Margaret's story which is fiction since little is known of her actual life.Aside from a few problems in the editing (misspelled words, wrong tenses of verbs, etc.) this was an excellent book. While the topic was very disturbing at times, the characters were well-developed, and, like Margaret, the reader never loses hope.
erinclark on LibraryThing 21 days ago
This book cut me quick to the heart. It is the story of a woman kidnapped with her family from a life as a free woman in Pennsylvania, then a free state, to a life of horrendous, hellish, slavery in the south in the 1830's before the civil war. This story is based on a true occurrence and it just made my blood boil at the injustice of slavery and those who supported it. Horrible, brutal stuff. I appreciate the author taking license with other details of the story, not the factual. She did a great job of building believable characters and believable situations with a lot of historical detail. I could not put it down. I highly recommend this book, it will get your blood pumping and make you want to go out and save the world. A great read and page turner.