The story of William Still, an unknown abolitionist who dedicated his life to managing a critical section of the Underground Railroad in Philadelphia—the free state directly north of the Mason-Dixon Line—helping hundreds of people escape from slavery.
Compelling ... With meticulous care and a jaw-dropping amount of research, Diemer fluently charts Still’s course through the internecine rivalries of reform circles ... A moving portrait of one’s man life, but not only his; Diemer weaves in the stories of many other figures — from workers across the Underground Railroad’s networks to escapees and activists — whose neglected histories deserve attention and care.
this is more than a biography of Still. Diemer also develops a larger story about Philadelphia’s dynamic Black community. He features the everyday work that organized and empowered Black freedom fighters. As Still did, Diemer emphasizes that Black people worked to save themselves ... Diemer rightly situates Still amid the center of the efforts against slavery and supplies an inviting narrative of the 19th-century fight between Black Americans and white supremacist oppression.