When John Price took a chance at freedom by crossing the frozen Ohio river from Kentucky into Ohio one January night in 1856, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was fully enforced in every state of the union. But the townspeople of Oberlin, Ohio, believed that all people deserved to be free, so Price started a new life in town-until a crew of slave-catchers arrived and apprehended him. When the residents of Oberlin heard of his capture, many of them banded together to demand his release in a dramatic showdown that risked their own freedom. Paired for the fi rst time, highly acclaimed authors Dennis & Judith Fradin and Pura Belpré award-winning illustrator Eric Velasquez, provide readers with an inspiring tale of how one man's journey to freedom helped spark an abolitionist movement.
The Fradins (Zora:! The Life of Zora Neale Hurston) bring into focus an incident that solidified the reputation of Oberlin, Ohio, as a place that welcomed and aided runaway slaves in this detailed picture-book account. In the autumn of 1858, a large group of residents, now known as the Rescuers, defied the Fugitive Slave Law (which made it legal to capture runaway slaves anywhere in the U.S.) and dramatically freed former slave John Price from armed slave hunters. Though the Rescuers were eventually tried as criminals and served jail time, their unwavering belief in freedom for all people helped spark disagreements that led to the Civil War. The narrative reveals the authors’ thorough research, though readers may have some difficulty keeping straight the large cast of characters. Velasquez (My Uncle Martin’s Words for America) sets a tense tone from the outset, with striking, inky paintings of Price’s initial escape under cover of night. His realistic portraits of Price and the townspeople of Oberlin convey powerful emotion and capture the clothing, architecture, and dangers of the era. --Publisher's Weekly.
In a collective act of protest and heroism, an Ohio community successfully defied the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. In 1856, John Price and two other Kentucky slaves crossed the Ohio River to freedom in Oberlin. Like many other runaways, Price stayed there. Two years later, when slave hunters tracked him down and captured him, the citizens of the town banded together to defend him. The Fradins recount the confrontation, known as the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue, with its manifold legal and moral repercussions in a minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour narration. Words and illustrations combine in a fast-paced, breathless, cinematic flurry that stars genuine action heroes armed with rifles and large doses of courage and principle. Velasquez uses mixed media and oil paints to portray his characters as living and acting, never posing. Many illustrations are framed by wood strips, an effective period touch. How wonderful, too, that a double-page photograph of the Rescuers, as the Oberlin citizens came to be known, concludes the saga. Judith Fradin and her late husband, Dennis, were frequent collaborators; his Bound for the North Star (2000) is also about runaway slaves. History made immediate and meaningful.-- Kirkus review
Gr 3-6-In 1856, John Price escaped from slavery in Kentucky by crossing the frozen Ohio River. Two years later, slave hunters arrived in Oberlin, Ohio, and attempted to take him back at gunpoint. Shopkeepers, farmers, teachers, and college students formed an armed group of Rescuers to release Price. Some members of the group were former slaves, risking their own freedom. Charged with violating the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the Rescuers spent three months in jail. They returned home with a new purpose, vowing that "No fugitive slave shall ever be taken from Oberlin either with or without a warrant, if we have power to prevent it." The picture-book format is highly effective in conveying the power of the story. In Velasquez's dramatic mixed-media and oil paintings, determination shows in the stance of the figures and the set of their facial features. The book design is masterful. The front cover highlights John Price, surrounded by some of his champions. The back cover foreshadows a betrayal, with a hand dropping a gold coin into another hand, accompanied by the sentence, "How much is one man's life worth?" On the endpapers, a dark, quiet view of the river sets the stage for the conflict to come. Full-page images and spreads draw readers directly into the action. The final image is an 1859 large-scale photo of the Rescuers taken in the courtyard of the jail.-- School Library Journal