Bordewich's Bound for Canaan offers a sweeping survey of Underground Railroad operations and dramatic slave escapes across the United States from the late eighteenth century to the Civil War era. The author argues that Isaac T. Hopper and a loose network of agents created a model for organized fugitive aid in Philadelphia at the turn of the nineteenth century and that their work was then replicated and expanded by an antebellum coalition of free blacks and white abolitionists who forged, in his words, the nation's "first civil rights movement." Bordewich relies heavily upon various recollected accounts, but supplements his research with letters, diaries, and contemporary newspaper accounts. Bound for Canaan occupies more than 400 pages of text and includes endnotes, a bibliography and an index. (By Matthew Pinsker)
Fergus M. Bordewich, Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America's First Civil Rights Movement (New York: Amistad, 2006), 355-356.
Still was born free in 1821, near Medford, in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, the youngest of eighteen children. His father, Levin, had purchased his freedom and moved north from Maryland in 1807. His mother, charity, later escaped to join him there, leaving behind their two oldest, enslaved sons. Largely self-taught, William moved to Philadelphia in 1844, where he worked at various menial jobs until, in 1847, he was hired as a clerk and a janitor by the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, at a salary of three dollars and seventy-five cents per week.