New Selection: GATEWAY to FREEDOM

I am excited to announce that our next selection will be Eric Foner’s latest book: Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad.

Eric Foner is the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University.  He is one of this country’s most prominent historians and the author of over 20 books.  He is one of only two persons to serve as president of the three major professional organizations: the Organization of American Historians, American Historical Association, and Society of American Historians, and one of a handful to have won the Bancroft and Pulitzer Prizes in the same year.

In the first chapter, “Introduction: Rethinking the Underground Railroad”, the author describes Gateway to Freedom as follows:

     This book is a study of fugitive slaves and the underground railroad in New York City.  The nation’s major metropolis, New York before the Civil War consisted of Manhattan and the Bronx, with most of the population concentrated below Thirty-Fourth Street.  The city was a crucial way station in the metropolitan corridor through which fugitive slaves made their way from the Upper South through Philadelphia and on to upstate New York, New England, and Canada.  Since the underground railroad, by definition, can only be understood as an intercity, interregional enterprise, I also devote attention to other key sites in this northeastern network.  I discuss as well the national debate and federal legislation relating to fugitive slaves, and how the fugitive issue played a crucial role in precipitating the Civil War.”

I am looking forward to reading the book together!

The Politics for the People Conference Call

with Dr. Foner will be on April 19th at 7 pm.


Leave a comment


  1. Eileen

     /  March 19, 2015

    Hey Cathy I hope all is well. Can you please recommend where I can purchase this book? Last time I did it on my own it took a very long time and I would love to have read the book LOL before the group call…..please let me know your thoughts..have a great and safe day.. Eileen

  2. Eileen, you should be able to order this from Amazon and get it really quickly. Here is the link: I also think local book stores will have this. Hope this helps. Look forward to having you on the call!

  3. I have just completed Eric Foner’s Gateway To Freedom and along with a comment I have a question. I am curious to know how does the research and retelling of these times in American history affect the author afterwards? I mean He/They have to delve into some of the most vilest thoughts and actions from one human being to another. It have dawned on Me that America has a VERY bloody history and not only from fighting for release from what they say were the cruelties caused by Great Britain but from the cruelties Americans unleashed not only on each other but on other races, in what, the name of colonization and a peculiar institution. Just reading about the moral conflicts that slavery caused helps Me to fully grasp that slavery was not only an intrusion on African Americans but on the moral sanctity of some White Americans as well. Eric Foner has written on a subject that has been in My life span of 42 yrs, by African Americans and others sorely under discussed. The existence and assistance of those who “worked” for The Underground Railroad was a “God send”. It shows a collaboration of blacks and whites, although issues arose, that is either forgotten or forsaken when it comes to race relations. White folks sincerely cared about the plight of slaves, it’s not like how I grew up understanding that white’s were to be feared or not trusted and that blacks were alone in the fight for freedom. Even though history has shown that some whites participated in The Civil Rights Movement, without a serious respect and regard for each race concern for fugitive slaves who’s to say how long slavery could have endured especially with the approval of the National Government. Slavery was such a profitable business that it was also profitable to help slaves escape, that’s trippy because on one hand I want to be happy that business owners helped although charging and yet how can someone take from another that already has nothing but I digress freedom is freedom and sometimes it took money as well as blood to ensure it. The Gateway To Freedom draws me to two conclusions: 1. How in the name of all creation can We raise a civil society with that type of bloody acceptance and disregard for life, no matter what race, because hate is learned behavior? and 2: When is the American Government going to be rid of people who thinks it’s okay to invade the rights of another, be it sexual preference, voting or fair economic enterprise? Last thing, even when the people come together it is scary to know that the Government can still divide by it’s partisan legislation.


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