Rural Northeastern Pennsylvania was a bucolic farming region in the 1800s—but political tensions churned below the surface. When a group of fugitive slaves dared to settle in the Underground Railroad village of Waverly, near Scranton, before the Civil War, they encountered a mix of support from abolitionists and animosity from white supremacists. Once the war came, 13 of Waverly’s black fathers and sons returned south, into the bowels of slavery, to fight for the Union. Their valor under fire helped to change many minds about blacks. "Embattled Freedom" lifts these 13 remarkable lives out of the shadows, while also shedding light on the racial politics and social codes they and their people endured in the divided North. The men had found a safe haven in Waverly, but like other people of color in the 1800s and early 1900s, their freedom was uneasy, their battle for respect never-ending.
Jim Remsen is a journalist and author of two prior books, "The Intermarriage Handbook" (HarperCollins, 1988) and "Visions of Teaoga" (Sunbury, 2014). Since retiring as Religion Editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jim has pursued his keen interest in history, with a focus on underappreciated aspects of our nation’s local histories. Being a native of Waverly, Pa., he is pleased to be bringing his old hometown’s remarkable black and abolitionist period to light.
Description courtesy of Sunbury Press.