This is the story of Samuel Johnson, a Black man from Warrenton, Virginia, who earned his freedom in 1812. "Wolf ’s work is strongest in her consideration that race relations in antebellum Virginia must be examined in a more personal frame of reference. Scholars of antebellum race relations, particularly those interested in the status of free blacks, will find her book useful; general audiences will enjoy the story of one man’s desire to free himself and his family despite legal and societal challenges. - Andrea S. Watkins. "Carefully researched and passionately written, Eva Sheppard Wolf's Almost Free beautifully evokes the humanity of those many thousands like Samuel Johnson who lived in the fragile space between slavery and freedom in the early republic. Few studies capture nearly so well the elusive promise and the intricacies of race and status that attended to being free and black in early national Virginia." - Joshua D. Rothman. The author, Eva Sheppard Wolf teaches history at San Francisco State. She is the author of an earlier book on Nat Turner.
Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2012. 174 pages with an Index, Notes, and photos. Trade paperback.