A Picture of Freedom


A Picture of Freedom is based on the real-life memoirs of Clotee Henley, a young slave who helped over 150 slaves escape to freedom via the Underground Railroad.  Clotee lives on a Virginia plantation in 1859 and is determined to free herself from her shackles.  She has learned to read and write in secret, for it is illegal for slaves. At first ‘freedom’ is just another word she has learned to write, but she comes to understand the true meaning of the word and of freedom itself.

She finds out about the Underground Railroad, a network of people who help runaway slaves. Through this realisation she discovers that freedom is more than just a word and she helps other slaves to their own freedom.

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A Picture of Freedom

Patricia C McKissack


A Picture of Freedom is set on a tobacco plantation in Virginia, USA in 1859.  Clotee is a slave on the plantation, but she dreams of the possibility of a better life.  In secret, she has learned to read and write, something that is illegal for a slave to do.  The story is based on the actual diaries of Clotee Henley, whose writings told of the lives of the slaves on the plantation, but also of her dreams of freedom.
Clotee comes to learn of the Underground Railroad, a network of people dedicated to helping escaped slaves find their freedom.  Incidents on the plantation and the cruelty of the slave owners lead Clotee to believe she must herself escape.
This is a moving, powerful and evocative telling of the horrors of slavery and the power of the human spirit.  Bookwagon has a number of titles on the theme of freedom from slavery in our bookshop.  Readers might like to seek out ‘Freedom’ and ‘Shackles From The Deep’.


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