Bond and Free; A True Tale of Slave Times. H. W. Howard, James.
Bond and Free; A True Tale of Slave Times.

Bond and Free; A True Tale of Slave Times.

Harrisburg, [Pennsylvania]: Edwin K. Meyers, 1886. First edition, first state (with the frontisportrait). Frontisportrait. Minor edgewear. Pencil ownership signature, dated 1889, to front flyleaf. Light marginal toning. A very good, very clean copy of this antislavery novel by an important Black publisher and politician in Philadelphia. Publisher’s brown cloth titled in gilt. Octavo. 280 pp. Item #17135

The present novel weaves together the stories of many different people enslaved on Virginia plantations, centering around a woman named Elva and the escape from slavery of her two sons, Henry and Joseph. In the preface, the author writes, “The incidents related are true, while the adventures of the fugitives, in their escape from slavery, are actual facts related by persons well known to me, some of them closely related, and for whose veracity I can safely vouch…[As] one of that race, now struggling for a position in the Nation which once refused to recognize their manhood I trust I shall not be harshly censure for depicting a few of the milder forms of treatment to which the negro was subjected while enslaved,” (p. 3).

James H.W. Howard (ca. 1860 – 1932) was a Canadian-born publisher, politician, and activist who spent most of his life in Philadelphia. Howard was a founder of the Negro Democratic State League of Pennsylvania, which he founded with several other Black organizers in Philadelphia to organize against the failures of President Cleveland and the rest of the Republican party in granting legal rights to Black people. He went on to serve as one of the vice presidents of the Democratic Society of Pennsylvania and helped pass a law in the state that granted labor rights to Black people. One of his greatest contributions to the Black community of Pennsylvania was his promotion of Black interests in the press and in the business world: he published magazines like Howard’s Negro American Monthly (1880 – 1890) and resources like the Pennsylvania Negro Business Directory (1910), which was essential in uniting Black businessowners in the state. Digital Harrisburg (website). Published by Messiah University and the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. Wright III, 2797.

Price: $750.00

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