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Comprende il nome: Karolyn Smardz Frost

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Opere di Karolyn Smardz Frost


Informazioni generali

Nome legale
Frost, Karolyn Smardz
Luogo di nascita
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Luogo di residenza
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Collingwood, Ontario, Canada
Nova Scotia, Canada
(BA | Archaeology)
(MA | Classical Studies)
(PhD | Canadian History, Race & Slavery)
Attività lavorative
Executive Director, Ontario Historical Society
Postdoctoral Fellowship, York University, 2004-2005
Instructor, Toronto Historical Research, York University
Guest Lecturer, University of Newcastle-on-Tyne, UK
UNESCO Lecturer, Robben Island, Cape Town, SA
Manager of Public Programming, Institute for Minnesota Archaeology (mostra tutto 7)
Canadian Representative, World Archaeological Congress
Founder, the Toronto Board of Education’s Archaeological Resource Centre
Vice-Chair, Toronto Historical Board
Recording Secretary, Ontario Historical Society
Founding Member, Education Committee, Society for American Archaeology
Founding Member, Education Committee, Society for Historical Archaeology
Board Member, the Commemorative Committee on the Bicentennial of the Abolition of the Atlantic Slave Trade (mostra tutto 9)
Board Member, the Tubman Institute for the Global Migrations of African Peoples
Board Member, the Promised Land History and Education Project (Chatham ∙ Ontario)
York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Premi e riconoscimenti
Research Fellowship, Multiculturalism Canada
Research Fellowship, Filson Historical Society of Louisville, Kentucky
Research Fellowship, Kentucky African American Heritage Commission
Research Fellowship, Bentley Historical Library of the University of Michigan
Research Fellowship, Anderson Center at Red Wing, Minnesota
Research Fellowship, Ontario Heritage Foundation (mostra tutto 7)
Research Fellowship, Virginia Historical Society



This is the true story of Thornton and Lucie Blackburn, two slave who "steal themselves" from their masters in Kentucky and successfully make it to a new home in Toronto, Ontario.

In 1985 Karolyn Smardz Frost, Toronto historian and archaeologist became interested in the potential for an archaeological dig beneath the schoolyard of one of the oldest continually used school buildings in Toronto. In researching the site, she discovered that it had originally belonged to one Thornton Blackburn, who records noted was a "cabman, coloured". Partnering with the Ontario Black History Society she got permission to excavate the site, and thus began her 20 year project of researching the story of how the Blackburn's arrived in Toronto.

The result is this book. Amazingly, Frost had stumbled on the homesite of the escaped slave couple who's court case cemented Canada as the main terminus of the Underground Railroad.

Escaping from Kentucky in 1833, Thornton and Lucie first made their way to Detroit, in the free territory of Michigan, where an attempted kidnapping by slave catchers resulted in the "Blackburn Riot", causing the couple and several other escaped slaves to flee across the Detroit River to Upper Canada (now Ontario). Upper Canada, the first British territory to rule against slavery, had just recently passed the Fugitive Offenders Act, formalizing extradition rules to the US. Among it's provisions was a rule that escaped slaves would not be returned to America with few exceptions.

The Blackburns were pursued across the border by the slave catchers, and the resulting court case became established precedent, setting a very high bar for returning slaves to the US from Canada.

Thornton and Lucie achieved much success in Toronto, and, though Frost has to rely on newspaper clippings and legal records she is able to flesh out their story quite well (the Blackburns did not have children, leaving no descendants).

I read this book after completing Ta-Nehisi Coates' The Water Dancer, and doing some research on books about the Underground Railroad. Recommended.
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stevesbookstuff | 2 altre recensioni | Nov 7, 2020 |
this book is a vital work, incredibly researched, and finely detailed. it made for an interesting read, and an excellent book group discussion. but.... (sorry! it is totally minor)... it was a slog of a read for me. every page is densely packed with information, and detail after detail. there was no good rhythm or flow to it for me. so while i feel very good for having great the book, and learning so much through the author's research, i didn't particularly love the ride. (again, VERY minor 'yeah, but...')

this is such important work, so my slogging through the read should not be interpreted as dislike. i do recommend it, in fact. and especially so if it is being read in the context of a book club. smardz frost offers a great profile of not only one woman, but of those around her, and the era she lived through. the author is quite a talented academic, on top of being an award-winning author. one of her fields of specialty is archaeology. unearthing the history to create this book was definitely a work of excavation. and while we can't fill some of the holes that exist - because there is just no way to know - i deeply appreciated the fact that smardz frost refrained from supposition and inference. if something was not factually supported by evidence, she did not guess, or imagine. (though those moments certainly left me curious, wondering about outcomes.)
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JooniperD | Nov 15, 2019 |
The Land of Canaan

In this harrowing tale of terror, resistance, love, and emancipation Archeologist Karolyn Smardz Frost has brought to life the stories of fugitive slaves Thornton Blackburn and his wife Lucie Blackburn in their journey to Canada in what is now known as "The Underground Railroad" during the 19th century.

The significance of the Blackburns lies in the amazing journey they took to freedom, and their subsequent activities in facilitating the flight of future slaves and their work as abolitionists leading up to the Civil War period. Frost shines as a narrator bringing to life the painstaking research she has done to piece together the lives of these remarkable individuals. As a work of non-fiction, Frost is well-deserving of the Governor General Award for 2007.

For the most part, Frost gets all the historical details correct. The brutality of the Cotton King plantation slavocracy, the merciless slave traders, the determination of the abolitionists, enduring racism in British North America (BNA), and the Civil War triangulation between US, BNA and Britain. The greatest accomplishment of Frost's book is to show "the manipulations of personal relationships [between] masters, mistress, and other whites" (p64). In other words, the master/slave relationship was much more complicated than it appeared on the surface and Frost is able give us a glimpse of this complexity through the relationships between Thornton and his masters, and Ruthie (as she was known before she fled) and her masters. Frost is also able to combine elements of romance and suspense through the difficulties they encountered to hide the love for each other and ultimately their desire to be with one another which led them on their harrowing journey to earn their liberty.

Having said that, there are a few minor blemishes in detail of the book. Firstly, Frost would like to have the reader believe that the number of refugee slaves that fled to BNA was upwards of 30,000. Recent figures based on Canadian census data puts the figure at less than 5,000 and US census data at approxiamately 6,000. Frost acknowledges this, but states that census data was highly unreliable. However, Frost contradicts herself here as she relies heavily on much of this "unreliable" census data herself for research in this book. The figure could very well be 30,000 or more, however, there is no factual data that proves this. As flawed as they are, the only data we have to draw from are the census figures which both put the number between 5 and 6,000.

The other minor historical blemish is the omission of Vancouver Island and James Douglas as a primary destination of many fugitive slaves in BNA. James Douglas himself being part Creole, actively campaigned to settle refugee slaves in his colonial territory as a way to dissuade American annexation.

Despite the minor errors, "I've Got a Home in Glory Land" is a significant contribution to the Underground Railroad literature. The story of the Blackburns should be added alongside pioneers such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Sojournor Truth who won their own freedom then fought to break the chains of slavery for so many others.
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bruchu | 2 altre recensioni | Aug 22, 2008 |
Interesting read for the history buff, but if you are more into historical fiction this may not be the best choice for you since it is written a bit like a text book.
I checked this book out of my local library after hearing the author interviewed on a radio show. She was very enthusiastic about her research and told enough of the Blackburn story to make me want to find the book immediately.
Karolyn Smardz Frost was the director of an archaeological dig involving the Toronto (Canada) site of Thornton and Lucie Blackburn's home. The Blackburn's were both born into slavery and escaped to Detroit and then to Canada. In Canada they were active in the Underground Railroad, and became prominent buisness people and land owners. During the archealogical excavation of this site in 1985, Karolyn Smardz Frost became facinated with the Blackburn story and committed to finding out as much as she could about the couple. She dedicated subsequent years to the geneological, historical, and political research involved in pulling this story out of it's archival obscurity.
I found the story of the Blackburns very interesting, and I also found many interesting Canadian and American historical facts that I had never heard before. Although I am sure that true history buffs would not be surprised by anything contained in this book, I never cease to be amazed at the many aspects of Canadian history that are not taught in Canadian schools (at least not when I went to school) Although we were taught about the Underground Railroad in school, it wasn't taught in the all encompassing way that this book is told, including quotes from former slaves, slave owners, abolitionists, and political leaders from the U.S., Upper Canada, and Britain. This book does an excellant job of portraying a pivotal time in North American history.
… (altro)
caymil | 2 altre recensioni | Dec 18, 2007 |

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