Cover image for My family shall be free : the life of Peter Still
My family shall be free : the life of Peter Still
Fradin, Dennis B.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, [2001]

Physical Description:
190 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 7.0 6.0 45343.


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E444 .S848 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
E444 .S848 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
E444 .S848 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography

On Order



At the beginning of the nineteenth century, approximately one million people of African descent were slaves in the United States, and this number rose to almost four million by the beginning of the Civil War in 1861. Sold like cattle, slaves belonged to the highest bidder. Their lives were sad and often short. There was, however, a small number who, through sheer bravery and perseverance, managed to buy their freedom. My Family Shall Be Free Is the amazing and powerful true story of one such hero, Peter Still.On a summer night around 1860, Peter's mother made the difficult decision to flee north with her baby daughters, leaving Peter and his brother Levin behind in Slavery. After more than forty years in bondage, Peter bought his freedom, then searched for and found his mother -- and the younger brothers and sisters he never knew he had up north. Then risking his own precious liberty and safety, Peter returned to the South to set in motion the events leading to freedom for his wife and children. In clear and simple language, Dennis Brindell Fradin brings to light a poignant and inspirational story about one man's drive, patience, and endurance in the face of inhumanity.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-12. Fradin has written more than just a solid biography of slave Peter Still. His book is an engrossing saga that is both sweeping and intensely personal, including information from several books (some written by the Stills themselves), historical documents, and interviews with descendants who regularly reunite. He begins with statistics that show the number of free African Americans throughout U.S. history, even before the Civil War. He then uses Still's story to offer a more multidimensional look at slavery and the pursuit of freedom than is covered in many history books. Character descriptions are kept to a minimum. Yet personalities and their role in family history emerge clearly from this story of relatives divided, in search of reunion and honor in the face of adversity. Fradin's straightforward style and sometimes stoic prose work well here, as he allows the traumatic experiences themselves to generate drama and ignite compassion. An account that remains strong to the very last page. --Roger Leslie

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-9-The compelling story of a man and his family torn apart by slavery. Fradin begins the account in 1806 when Peter Still and his brother Levin were taken from a plantation in Maryland and sold as house slaves to a Mr. Fisher in Lexington, KY. He follows Peter Still's story for the next half of a century as he sought to earn his freedom and reunite his family. The author incorporates dialogue attributed to firsthand 19th-century printed sources, some written by Still family members. Unfortunately, in some instances, the inclusion of these passages is awkward and they fail to flow seamlessly with the facts. The black-and-white sketches, maps, and reproductions of historical documents are of interest and value. A useful choice that addresses slavery in 19th-century America and the Abolitionist Movement.-Toniann Scime, Amherst Museum, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.