Most Americans believe that slavery was a creature of the South, and that Northern states and territories provided stops on the Underground Railroad for fugitive slaves on their way to Canada. In this paradigm-shifting book, celebrated historian Tiya Miles reveals that slavery was at the heart of the Midwest's iconic city: Detroit. In this richly researched and eye-opening book, Miles has pieced together the experience of the unfree-both native and African American-in the frontier outpost of Detroit, a place wildly remote yet at the center of national and international conflict. Skillfully assembling fragments of a distant historical record, Miles introduces new historical figures and unearths struggles that remained hidden from view until now. The result is fascinating history, little explored and eloquently told, of the limits of freedom in early America, one that adds new layers of complexity to the story of a place that exerts a strong fascination in the media and among public intellectuals, artists, and activists. A book that opens the door on a completely hidden past, The Dawn of Detroit is a powerful and elegantly written history, one that completely changes our understanding of slavery's American legacy.
Tiya Miles is the recipient of a 2011 MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" and is a professor at the University of Michigan in the departments of American culture, Afro-American and African studies, history, women's studies, and in the Native American Studies Program. She lives in Ann Arbor.
Allyson Johnson began her entertainment career as an Emmy Award-winning child news anchor. A graduate of Brown University, she is a working actress, singer, and audiobook narrator. She currently resides in the New York City metropolitan area.
"A necessary work of powerful, probing scholarship." ---Library Journal Starred Review