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Speak a Word for Freedom: Women against Slavery    by Janet Willen & Marjorie Gann order for
Speak a Word for Freedom
by Janet Willen
Order:  USA  Can
Tundra, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's an engrossing read, aimed at teens but of interest to all ages. Speak a Word for Freedom: Women against Slavery by Janet Willen and Marjorie Gann. They offer fourteen mini biographies of women who have spoken out against slavery through history, and define slavery as 'the absolute control of one person by another.'

Elizabeth Freeman and another slave sued their owner, a prominent white lawyer, in 1781 Massachusetts - and won! Another Elizabeth, Elizabeth Heyrick was a politically influential white Englishwoman who wrote pamphlets against Caribbean slavery in the early 1800s and organized a sugar boycott to further the cause. Ellen Craft, a black woman who was able to disguise herself as a white man, escaped slavery, taking her husband with her. Harriet Tubman (known as Moses for helping others escape slavery) is a well known name and she's featured here too.

So are Harriet Beecher Stowe (who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin); Frances Anne Kemble, a Southern author of another influential book; English missionary Alice Seeley Harris who publicized horrific stories of slavery in the Congo; 1920s abolitionist Lady Kathleen Simon; 1940s Aleut advocate Fredericka Martin; modern sex trafficking advocate Timea Nagy; Haitian child slave advocate Micheline Slattery; Nigerian and Caribbean antislavery activists Hadijatou Mani and Sheila Roseau; and Nina Smith who works against child slavery in South Asia today.

In their Afterword, the authors talk of women's struggle in the early days to be taken seriously in the fight against slavery, and how that has changed over time. They also talk about the work still to be done, and what modern young abolitionists can do to further the cause, emphasizing that 'slavery still exists.'

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