Come August, Come Freedom
Author: Gigi Amateau
About the book & author
Come August, Come Freedom is about a 24 year old boy named Gabriel. This book covers Gabriel’s life from birth until the very end. In 1776, Gabriel is born a slave. He is raised alongside the master’s son Thomas Prosser, who have a special bond. As Gabriel grows up, he becomes literate learning alongside Thomas. But, along the way, terrible things happen and so Gabriel is torn from his family and sent to Richmond to apprentice as a blacksmith. As a blacksmith, he learns about the revolt in Haiti lead by General Toussaint and catches the spark of revolution and freedom. From there, Gabriel plots rebellion, hoping to free not only his family, but thousands of others. The author of this book is Gigi Amateau, who was born in Mississippi, and raised in Virginia. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in urban studies and planning from Virginia Commonwealth University and has worked in the health and human services sector for more than twenty-five years. Come August, Come freedom was her first work of historical fiction and won the Library of Virginia's People Choice Award for fiction.
- On page 65 of the book, Solomon said to Gabriel, “That’s news to you? Even the free aren’t free, Little Brother.” I think that this is important to the text because in that time period, Gabriel’s older brother Solomon explains to him that even though someone may think that they are free, they never truly are. You still have someone watching over you and telling you what to do. He explains that the free Mrs. Barnett was arrested for harboring runaways and whenever the constable broke into her house she killed him. For this, she will hang at the gallows.
- On page 121, Gabriel remembers what Ma had told him, “ Workin’ hard never been good enough to set a person free or keep a man with his family…” Ma said this because she was explaining to him that you can work all your life but that will never be good enough. No matter how long you are enslaved, you will never be set free. This quote helps tell the significance of the story because it shows how the slaves feel & how they live their lives.
- The third quote comes from page 158, Gabriel talks about how he imagined their lives being as freed slaves. “And you can imagine not only a free Nanny or free Gabriel but a free Virginia?” He talks about how different life would be not only if he and his wife, Nanny, were free but how life would be if Virginia were free. It contributes to the text because Gabriel realizes they there is a whole other life outside the imprisoned life that he and Nanny are living in.
Main Conflict-who? Most interesting point? Resolution?
The main conflict in the story is that Gabriel is taken from his mother and sent to the city to work as a blacksmith’s apprentice to earn the money to buy his mother’s freedom. But stopping at his moms freedom just wasn’t enough. Gabriel wanted to set all slaves free so he planned a rebellion involving thousands of slaves, free blacks, poor whites, and Native Americans. Resolution: After the hangings, after dozens of men died for liberty, the state had made its practice to banish those involved in the business.
Historical references includes their motto, “Death or Liberty”. This is a reference to Patrick Henry’s quote he made at the Virginia Convention in 1775, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” He made a reference to the Haitian Revolution by calling all the poor whites, free blacks, and Native Americans together to plan an armed rebellion to win freedom by capturing Virginia’s governor, James Monroe, and demand freedom for the enslaved people of Virginia. Another historical reference that the author made was simply the issue of slavery. She wrote about how the slaves were treated and the rights of the slaves, just like in history.
Good or Bad?
I think that this is a great book about a significant event in American history. Amateau takes legend back into truth and shows us the people at the heart of one of the most significant slave uprisings ever. She brings the era to life in a way that makes it interesting to read!