An illiterate slave, Dred Scott trusted in an all-white, slave-owning jury to declare him free. But after briefly experiencing the glory of freedom and manhood, a new state Supreme Court ordered the cold steel of the shackles to be closed again around his wrists and ankles. Falling to his knees, Dred cried, "Ain't I a man?" Dred answered his own question by rising and taking his fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Dred ultimately lost his epic battle when the Chief Justice declared that a black man was so inferior that he had "no rights a white man was bound to respect."
Dred died not knowing that his undying courage led directly to the election of President Abraham Lincoln and the emancipation proclamation.
Dred Scott's inspiring and compelling true story of adventure, courage, love, hatred, and friendship parallels the history of this nation from the long night of slavery to the narrow crack in the door that would ultimately lead to freedom and equality for all men.
Am I Not a Man? is a fantastic book that brings the early history of our nation to life. Mark L. Shurtleff did an incredible job not only creating believable Dred Scott, his family, friends, and foes - but made them so vibrant and real, I often felt like I was right there, experiencing the same trials and triumphs right along with Dred and his family. Early in the book, Dred is cherishing his freedom and reflecting on what an incredible thing it was for a former slave to be set free. But soon, he is faced with a judge who over-turned the jury's ruling and orders Dred and his family to be returned to their former owners. Despair washed over me as Dred realized the consequences this new ruling would bring upon his family.
Shurtleff hops back and forth in time to fully show the life of a slave and the long journey Dred endured as he sought freedom for his family, his daughters, and yes, even himself. This is a heart-wrenching and inspiring story. I think it should be on every high school and college required reading list. I know I would much preferred reading this book during my college government and law classes. I would have certainly connected more with the history of some of our laws and rights by reading more books like Am I Not a Man?
To read the first two chapters of Am I Not a Man? The Dred Scott Story, click here.
To order a copy on Amazon, click here.
To read a review of Am I Not a Man by Nichole Giles, click here.
To read a review of Am I Not a Man by Heather Justesen, click here.
*FTC Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with a free soft-bound, unedited advanced reader edition for this review.