Based on true events, this astonishing account from Emmy and Peabody Award-winning journalist Jack Ford vividly recreates a treacherous journey toward freedom at a time when the traditions of the Old South still thrived...
Two decades before the Civil War, middle-class farmer Samuel Maddox lies on his deathbed. Elsewhere in his Virginia home, a young woman named Kitty knows her life is about to change. She is one of the Maddox family’s slaves—and Samuel’s biological daughter. When Samuel’s wife, Mary, inherits her husband’s property, she will own Kitty, too, along with Kitty’s three small children.
After Samuel’s death, Mary decides to grant Kitty—an educated woman who has been treated more like family than slave—and her children, their freedom. Helped by Quaker families along the Underground Railroad, Mary travels with them to Pennsylvania to file emancipation papers. But Kitty is not yet safe.
Dragged back to Virginia by a gang of slave catchers led by Samuel’s own nephew, Kitty takes a defiant step: charging the younger Maddox with kidnapping and assault. On the surface, the move is hopeless. But Kitty has allies—Mary, and Fanny Withers, a socialite who secures a lawyer. The sensational trial that follows will decide the fate of Kitty and her children—and bond three extraordinary yet very different women together in their quest for justice.
“Stunning . . . with a compelling clarity that only someone like Ford can provide.”
—Dan Abrams, ABC News Chief Legal Affairs Anchor
“Ford does an excellent job portraying the warring factions of the time: those in the South who wanted to preserve their way of life, and those who felt slavery was unjust.”
“A tautly plotted, swiftly moving tale.” —Sabra Waldfogel, author of Sister of Mine