- Freeman by Leonard Pitts
Journalist Leonard Pitts’s Freeman is a haunting work of historical fiction about love, slavery, the Civil War, passing, sexuality, trauma, and freedom. Pitt’s protagonist is an escaped slave, who chooses the last name Freeman once he makes his way to Philadelphia. He has left behind a wife and a son who attempts to escape with his father and is hunted and killed in the process. Quietly working in a library, on the eve of freedom and Lincoln’s assassination, Sam Freeman returns South in search of the love of his life, Tilda. Like many freedmen and women post-Civil War, Freeman makes the torturous [End Page 93] journey, walking more than a thousand miles toward his past in order to recover and restore the only family he’s ever known and loved. Along the way, we are introduced to two New England schoolteachers who try to set up school for the freedmen and women, and a mystery involving potential passing and miscegenation are also woven into the narrative, along with Tilda’s harrowing present.