Author: Juliet E. K. Walker
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
The story of Free Frank is not only a testament to human courage and resourcefulness but affords new insight into the American frontier. Born a slave in the South Carolina piedmont in 1777, Frank died a free man in 1854 in a town he had founded in western Illinois. His accomplishments, creditable for any frontiersman, were for a black man extraordinary. Goods and services commanded a premium in the life of the frontier. Free Frank's career shows what an exceptional black man, though working against great odds, could accomplish through industry, acumen, and aggressiveness. His story suggests a great deal about business activity and legal practices, as well as racial conditions, on the frontier. Juliet Walker has performed a task of historical detection in recreating the life of Free Frank from family traditions, limited personal papers, public documents, and secondary sources. In doing so, she has added a significant chapter to the history of Afro-Americans. - Back cover.