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Honor Book for the Society of School Librarians International’s Best Book Award – Social Studies, Grades 7-12
Winner of 2005 Children’s Nautilus Book Awards (Non-fiction)
Prior to abolition in 1865, as many as 40,000 men, women, and children made the perilous trip north to freedom in Canada with the help of the Underground Railroad. It was neither underground nor was it a railroad, and was most remarkable for its lack of formal organization, so cloaked in secrecy that few facts were recorded while it “ran.”
The story of the Underground Railroad is one of suffering and of bravery, and is not only one of escape from slavery but of beginnings: of people who carved out a new life for themselves in perilous, difficult circumstances. In I Came as a Stranger, Bryan Prince, a descendent of slaves, describes the people who made their way to Canada and the life that awaited them.
From Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Dresden, Ontario to Harriet Tubman’s Canadian base of operations in St. Catharines, the communities founded by former slaves soon produced businessmen, educators, and writers. Yet danger was present in the form of bounty hunters and prejudice.
Complemented by archival photos, I Came as a Stranger is an important addition to North American history.
About the Author
Bryan Prince is a descendent of slaves who came to Canada prior to the American Civil War. He is a farmer with a profound interest in the history of the Underground Railroad – particularly in the Canadian involvement. He is actively involved with the Buxton National Historic Site & Museum, as well as with several other organizations in Ontario and the United States that focus on that period of history. He has spent thousands of hours researching, writing, and lecturing on this topic over a period of nearly 25 years. In 2002, he was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for contributions to history. He lives with his wife and four children in Buxton, Ontario – a former fugitive slave settlement – and is the sixth generation of his family to do so.
“This book…is good history…digging deeply into the roots of slavery as well as discussing the important figures in the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad system. Numerous photographs, a timeline of critical events, source notes and a bibliography augment the always interesting text.”
–The Globe and Mail
“The story of the underground railroad is as action-packed and full of intrigue, heroes and villains as any modern-day work of fiction.”