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Winner of the Frederick Douglass Book Prize
Winner of the American Book Award
Winner of the Merle Curti Social History Award
Winner of the James A. Rawley Prize
Winner of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award (Nonfiction)
Finalist for the John Hope Franklin Prize
Finalist for the Harriet Tubman Prize
Finalist for the Cundill History Prize
A New York Times Editor's Choice selection
"If many Americans imagine slavery essentially as a system in which black men toiled on cotton plantations, Miles upends that stereotype several times over."
--New York Times Book Review
" Miles] has compiled documentation that does for Detroit what the Works Progress Administration and the Federal Writers' Project slave narratives did for other regions, primarily the South."
" Tiya Miles] is among the best when it comes to blending artful storytelling with an unwavering sense of social justice."
--Martha S. Jones in The Chronicle of Higher Education "A necessary work of powerful, probing scholarship."
--Publisher Weekly (starred) "A book likely to stand at the head of further research into the problem of Native and African-American slavery in the north country."
--Kirkus Reviews From the MacArthur genius grant winner, a beautifully written and revelatory look at the slave origins of a major northern American city
Most Americans believe that slavery was a creature of the South, and that Northern states and territories provided stops on the Underground Railroad for fugitive slaves on their way to Canada. In this paradigm-shifting book, celebrated historian Tiya Miles reveals that slavery was at the heart of the Midwest's iconic city: Detroit.
In this richly researched and eye-opening book, Miles has pieced together the experience of the unfree--both native and African American--in the frontier outpost of Detroit, a place wildly remote yet at the center of national and international conflict. Skillfully assembling fragments of a distant historical record, Miles introduces new historical figures and unearths struggles that remained hidden from view until now. The result is fascinating history, little explored and eloquently told, of the limits of freedom in early America, one that adds new layers of complexity to the story of a place that exerts a strong fascination in the media and among public intellectuals, artists, and activists.
A book that opens the door on a completely hidden past, The Dawn of Detroit
is a powerful and elegantly written history, one that completely changes our understanding of slavery's American legacy.