Great Escapes

Great Escapes: Real Tales of Harrowing Getaways
by Judy Dodge Cummings (Author)

Booktalk: Sometimes, an intolerable situation calls for a drastic measure–fleeing for freedom. Whether you’re a slave seeking freedom in the North or a convict swimming for your life in a shark-infested canal, the urge to be free drives your every move. The five ingenious fugitives and freedom seekers in this narrative nonfiction collection all shared one common goal: escape.

Snippet: Ellen’s mother was a biracial housemaid. Ellen’s father was her mother’s owner, a wealthy man named James Smith, who had a plantation in Clinton, Georgia. This made Ellen three-quarters white. She was so light-skinned that visitors to the estate often mistook her for a family member.

Mrs. Smith hated Ellen because the girl reminded her of her husband’s unfaithfulness. Every day, Ellen become the target of the woman’s rage.

Eventually, Mrs. Smith fund a way to get rid of Ellen permanently. In 1837, the Smith’s daughter, Eliza, married Robert Collins. As a wedding present, Mrs. Smith gave Ellen to Eliza. Although she was only eleven years old, Ellen was taken from her mother and sent to live with Robert Collins and his new wife in Macon, Georgia.

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