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"My Family Shall Be Free! The Life of Peter Still" by Dennis Brindell Fradin, HarperCollins, $16.95.

Peter Still was 6 years old and his brother Levin was 8 when their mother, a slave, had to leave them behind when she fled to freedom in the North with her two baby daughters.

As boys, Peter and Levin were forced to do back-breaking labor. And Levin's health was ruined when he was horsewhipped for marrying against his owner's wishes.

After more than 40 years as a slave, Peter bought his freedom, headed North and found his family, then earned $5,000 to buy the freedom of his wife and children by speaking to audiences about his life as a slave.

This fascinating account was possible because Peter's youngest brother, William, kept detailed accounts of the family history.

-- Jean Westmoore


A quiz for Black History Month:

1. Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League baseball in:

(a) 1937

(b) 1947

(c) 1957

2. Which track star overcame polio in childhood?

(a) Wilma Rudolph

(b) Florence Griffith Joyner

(c) Gail Devers

3. Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain set a National Basketball Association record by scoring how many points against the Knicks?

(a) 80

(b) 90

(c) 100

Answers: 1. (b); 2. (a); 3. (c)


1793 -- Cotton gin invented, increasing demand for slaves in the South.

1794 -- Richard Allen founds first African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Philadelphia.

1820 -- Missouri Compromise reached, allowing Maine into the Union as a free state, Missouri as a slave state and outlawing slavery in Northern Plains states.

1831 -- Nat Turner and 75 fellow slaves in Virginia revolt, killing at least 57 whites. They are defeated; Turner is hanged.

1849 -- Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery and begins work on the Underground Railroad helping African Americans move north to freedom.

1857 -- U.S. Supreme Court issues Dred Scott decision, declaring African Americans are not citizens.

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