Cover image for The fugitive's Gibraltar : escaping slaves and abolitionism in New Bedford, Massachusetts
The fugitive's Gibraltar : escaping slaves and abolitionism in New Bedford, Massachusetts
Grover, Kathryn, 1953-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xiii, 350 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
"The true ring of freedom" -- Origins -- Fugitives, the sea, and the coasting trade -- The 1820s: beginnings of activism -- The 1930s: organizing antislavery -- The 1840s "caste and the liberal spirit" -- The 1850s: "very poor hunting ground" -- Practical abolitionism.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F74.N5 G84 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



How did New Bedford come to be seen as a haven for fugitives, and was antislavery truly, as one whaling merchant put it, the ruling sentiment of the town? This book addresses these questions and the author documents fugitive traffic in and around New Bedford and analyzes it on several levels.

Author Notes

Kathryn Grover is an independent scholar, writer, and editor who lives in New Bedford, Massachusetts

Reviews 1

Choice Review

According to Grover, New Bedford, Massachusetts was an important sanctuary for fugitive slaves from the antebellum South. She attributes this primarily to the existence of a small but active African American population, a Quaker heritage that fed antislavery sentiment, and the city's commercial links with southern ports. Grover suggests that while there may not have been a highly organized national Underground Railroad that spirited fugitive slaves to freedom, there certainly did exist in the antebellum North communities such as New Bedford in which there were some people, white and black, who assisted fugitives. This book makes a major contribution to the ongoing debate over the existence and nature of the Underground Railroad, broadens knowledge of African American history, and successfully links local history with national issues. Extensive notes, illustrations, and maps of New Bedford bolster the author's contentions. Recommended for readers at all levels. L. B. Gimelli emeritus, Eastern Michigan University

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Chapter 1 "The True Ring of Freedom"p. 13
Chapter 2 Originsp. 37
Chapter 3 Fugitives, the Sea, and the Coasting Tradep. 67
Chapter 4 The 1820s: Beginnings of Activismp. 94
Chapter 5 The 1830s: Organizing Antislaveryp. 118
Chapter 6 The 1840s: Caste and "the Liberal Spirit"p. 157
Chapter 7 The 1850s: "Very Poor Hunting Ground"p. 207
Chapter 8 Practical Abolitionismp. 261
Notesp. 289
Indexp. 335