Special Event


Network to Freedom Underground Railroad Book Talk: Sweet Taste of Liberty




This is a virtual Program.

Dates & Times


Wednesday, September 22, 2021


2:00 PM


1 hour

Type of Event

Partner Program

The program will begin at 2:00 p.m. EDT


Historian Caleb McDaniel will join us to discuss his Pulitzer Prize winning book, Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America .

The book deals with the history of the reverse Underground Railroad. It tells the story of Henrietta Wood, a formerly enslaved woman who, in the twilight of Reconstruction, won the largest known sum ever awarded by a U.S. court in restitution for slavery. Although she was born in northern Kentucky and enslaved there and in Louisiana until she was nearly thirty years old, in 1853 Wood was living as a free woman in Cincinnati when she was kidnapped, taken to them South, and reenslaved. How did she survive slavery, twice, and later hold a powerful former enslaver to account? Where does her story fit in the longer history of reparations claims? And what does it tell us about debates over reparations today?  What difference did the victory make for Wood and her descendants?  At a time of increased public interest in the history of slavery, Wood's story offers important lessons about the impact restitution can make and about the limited power of payment alone.

Dr. W. Caleb McDaniel is Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Humanities and Chair of the History Department at Rice University, where he also serves as co-chair of the Task Force on Slavery, Segregation, and Racial Injustice. His essays have appeared in appeared in the New York Times, Smithsonian, The Atlantic, and other outlets, and you can find him on Twitter at @wcaleb. He is also the author of two books on the history of slavery, abolition, and the Civil War Era. In addition to Sweet Taste of Liberty, he is also authored The Problem of Democracy in the Age of Slavery (2013), which won the Merle Curti award from the Organization of American Historians.

Registration is required.

This event is co-sponsored by the Boone County Public Library and the NPS, National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program.

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Contact Information

National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program

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