This extraordinary collection of essays by some of America's top historians focuses on how African Americans resisted slavery and responded to freedom. Ira Berlin sets the stage by stressing the relationship between how we understand slavery and how we discuss race today. The remaining essays offer a richly textured examination of black struggles for freedom. John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger recount actual cases of runaway slaves, their motivations for escape and the strains this widespread phenomenon put on white slave-owners. Edward L. Ayers, William G. Thomas III, and Anne Sarah Rubin draw upon their remarkable Valley of the Shadow website to describe the wartime experiences of African Americans living on both borders of the Mason-Dixon line. And Eric Foner gives us a new look at how black leaders performed during the Reconstruction, revealing that they represented, for a time, the fulfillment of the American ideal that all people could aspire to political office.