On the night of November 7, 1841, the Creole, a brig transporting at least 135 slaves from Richmond, Virginia, to the auction block at New Orleans, was about 130 miles northeast of the Bahamas. In the darkness, a band of 19 slaves led by Madison Washington seized the crew and its captain. Over the next several days they forced the Creole to sail into Nassau harbor, where the British authorities offered freedom to the slaves on board, touching off a diplomatic squabble and continuing legal ramifications. In The Creole Mutiny, George and Willene Hendrick have pieced together, from scant information and remote sources, the story of this successful slave revolt and of the mysterious figure of Madison Washington, a fugitive slave who had been recaptured while trying to free his wife. With careful attention to background details, the authors describe what is known of Washington's life; the efforts of fugitive slaves to free other family members; the methods of slave traders and the operators of slave pens; the conditions on slave ships; and the sexual exploitation of female slaves, some mere children. In an Appendix, the authors show how Madison Washington has taken on mythic qualities in the works of major African-American writers, from Frederick Douglass to Theodore Ward. With 24 black-and-white illustrations. "Fascinating...compelling history."-Vernon Ford, Booklist
George and Willene Hendrick are independent scholars and researchers who together have edited Fleeing for Freedom and Two Slave Rebellions at Sea, as well as several collections of Carl Sandburg's poems, including Poems for the People. George Hendrick, formerly professor of English at the University of Illinois, also edited To Reach Eternity: The Letters of James Jones. The Hendricks live in Urbana, Illinois.