The Parker Sisters

A Border Kidnapping

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Pub Date 01 Feb 2016 | Archive Date 12 Jul 2016

Description

In 1851, Elizabeth Parker, a free black child in Chester County, Pennsylvania, was bound and gagged, snatched from a local farm, and hurried off to a Baltimore slave pen. Two weeks later, her teenage sister, Rachel, was abducted from another Chester County farm. Because slave catchers could take fugitive slaves and free blacks across state lines to be sold, the border country of Pennsylvania/Maryland had become a dangerous place for most black people.

In The Parker Sisters, Lucy Maddox gives an eloquent, urgent account of the tragic kidnapping of these young women. Using archival news and courtroom reports, Maddox tells the larger story of the disastrous effect of the Fugitive Slave Act on the small farming communities of Chester County and the significant, widening consequences for the state and the nation.

The Parker Sisters is also a story about families whose lives and fates were deeply embedded in both the daily rounds of their community and the madness and violence consuming all of antebellum America. Maddox’s account of this horrific and startling crime reveals the strength and vulnerability of the Parker sisters and the African American population.

In 1851, Elizabeth Parker, a free black child in Chester County, Pennsylvania, was bound and gagged, snatched from a local farm, and hurried off to a Baltimore slave pen. Two weeks later, her teenage...


Advance Praise

"In this compact and engrossing story, Maddox uses the 1851 kidnappings of Elizabeth and Rachel Parker in Pennsylvania to demonstrate how antebellum slavery transcended state boundaries.... Maddox expertly contextualizes the Parker kidnappings, keeping her eye on the larger legal and political issues.... [She] dramatically renders the subsequent legal trials in thrilling detail, yet never loses sight of the kidnappings’ historical importance in the deep divisions among Americans regarding slavery and abolition."
Publishers Weekly

"Maddox relates a gripping narrative of two free African American girls in mid-19th-century Pennsylvania.... The use of primary sources such as diaries and newspapers enriches the account of the Parker girls, their kidnappings and entry into slavery via Baltimore and then New Orleans, as well as the resulting trials. VERDICT: This book should be read by all who have an interest in freedom and civil rights. There is much to learn about the history of slavery that is still being discovered by historians such as Maddox."–Library Journal (starred review)

"In this compact and engrossing story, Maddox uses the 1851 kidnappings of Elizabeth and Rachel Parker in Pennsylvania to demonstrate how antebellum slavery transcended state boundaries.... Maddox...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781439913185
PRICE $28.50 (USD)

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