by Marshall Highet and Bird Jones
It is 1764 in Charles Town, South Carolina, and Harry’s school for enslaved children has been in in full swing for 20 years, despite the Negro Act of 1740 which specifically forbids enslaved people from learning to read or write. Harry, the headmaster and an enslaved person himself, finds an unlikely ally in Hannah, a young Jewish girl from town who tutors Bintü, an exceptionally smart and beautiful recent acquisition of the prominent Reverend and Mistress Harte. In spite of Harry’s success as a teacher, the political winds are shifting towards instability in the streets of Charles Town as the Stamp Act causes revolt, uproar, and armed protests. Caught in the crossfire of impending revolution and increased animosity towards and fear of an educated enslaved population, Harry’s school begins to feel the pressure. As danger looms, Harry, and ultimately the two girls, are forced to make hard decisions that will test their faith and integrity. Blue-Eyed Slave is a work of historical fiction based on true events. It combines deft storytelling with relentless attention to historical accuracy, and levels an unflinching gaze at the cruelties of enslavement. Although human cruelty may be universal, Blue-Eyed Slave also shows us that the same is true for kindness and bravery.
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