AS FAR AS BLOOD GOES
Holloway House Pub Co Fiction
Mass Market Paperback, $3.50
AS FAR AS BLOOD GOES chronicles the efforts of a talented, unhappy black youngster to escape slavery and become a physician. Though fictional, his accomplishments parallel those of hundreds of black men and women who overcame the barriers of their times to lead lives of quiet achievement -- until the day he is recaptured and brought back to Virginia in chains! And his only hope of escaping again is for his white father to acknowledge him at last.
When the character of Michael first came to me, I saw him as a boy of sixteen rebelling against the slavery that circumscribed his life. I'd had an interest in African-American history for years and had been reading the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, which inspired one of the early scenes in the novel. At the same time, as a mother of teenage children I wanted to understand how this boy -- like Douglass -- could break free of slavery and become a proud, educated man in a society that did all it could to keep him down. In researching and writing the book, I learned a great deal of largely forgotten African-American history. Michael is a fictional character, but there were other African-Americans who succeeded in becoming doctors in the ante-Bellum years when my book is set. Eight African-American physicians served in the Union army during the Civil War. I also gained a greater appreciation for the prominent role black communities in the North played in abolition efforts, and for the efforts and risks numerous slaves and fugitives took to gain an education -- including a boycott of segregated Boston schools organized in the year 1849 by black parents seeking equal educational opportunities for their children. Michael's escape and recapture are played out against this background of the struggle for freedom and dignity of the African-American people.