In 1775, Thomas Jeremiah was one of fewer than five hundred "Free Negros" in South Carolina and, with an estimated worth of GBP1,000 (about $200,000 in today's dollars), possibly the richest person of African descent in British North America. A slaveowner himself, Jeremiah was falsely accused by whites-who resented his success as a Charleston harbor pilot-of sowing insurrection among slaves at the behest of the British. J. William Harris tells Jeremiah's story in full for the first time, illuminating the contradiction between a nation that would be born in a struggle for freedom and yet deny it-often violently-to others.
"Fast-paced, deeply researched. . . . gripping. . . . Harris' book reminds us that throughout history, liberty for some has rested on the denial of freedom for others."-John David Smith, Raleigh News and Observer
A Best Book of 2009, Library Journal
Silver medal winner of the ForeWord Magazine 2009 Book of the Year Award in the History category
J. William Harris is professor of history at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author of The Making of the American South, Deep Souths (finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in history), and Plain Folk and Gentry in a Slave Society. He lives in Arlington, MA.