Parker was born to a slave mother and a white father in 1827 in Norfolk, Virginia. At the age of eight, Parker was separated from his mother and forced to walk to Richmond where, at a slave market, he was sold…
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Having become a free man, Parker joined the Underground Railroad Movement. The members of the movement, mostly conductors in the Underground Railroad, helped escaping slaves get further North where they could enjoy freedom; some of them opted to go as far as Canada. At great risk, Parker personally guided hundreds of slaves to freedom; slave owners had placed a $1,000 bounty on his head(Parker 15).
Journalist Frank Moody Gregg interviewed Parker in the 1880s as part of his investigation into the Railroad Movement(Parker 23). Gregg never published his manuscript. It was the historian Stuart Seely Sprague who stumbled upon Gregg’s notes and manuscript in the archives of Duke University. Sprague edited and had the memoir published. His Promised Land is useful in the study of African-American history in general and the slave trade in particular as it gives a more accurate, verified account of the slave trade (Lucas 191). While the slave trade had been the subject of several earlier works, these were exaggerated and inconsistent in detail. The earlier works included The Underground Railroad of 1860 by William Still and the 1898 The Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom by William Siebert.
Parkers autobiography relates to the period of African-American history known as the antebellum period(Lucas 192). This was the period roughly between 1789 and 1849. In the aftermath of independence, slavery became more rooted in the southern states while the northern states embarked on abolishing it. Pennsylvania was the first state, 1780, to enact an Act that provided for the gradual abolition of slavery. During this period, some developments shaped views on slavery. Key among them was the Haiti Revolution, the only revolt staged by slaves and led to an independent country. Following this event, many slave owners in the Caribbean fled to the United States out of fear, thereby increasing the population of slaves and slave owners in the United
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The book The Making of the Slavs: History and Archaeology of the Lower Danube Region is a well-drafted detail of the origins of Slavs; written by a prolific writer Florin Curta. Curta is an American historian and an archaeologist born in Romania. He is a specialist in the field of Balkan history and is considered an authority in the field.
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