Why did I love this book?
This book surprised the scholarly community when the manuscript was first obtained at an estate sale. A handwritten memoir that had lain largely unread for over a hundred and fifty years, this narrative depicts the sort of child we rarely see in the history books. A defiant apprentice, a runaway truant, a bartender, a prisoner, and author, Austin Reed offers us one plot twist after another. As a free person of color in the nineteenth century, Reed offers a compelling view into the life of one man who was determined to maintain his own sense of self, even in the face of a quickly growing carceral state that imprisoned him both as a child and as a man.