Janet Neary is an associate professor of English at Hunter College, City University of New York. She is the author of Fugitive Testimony: On the Visual Logic of Slave Narratives (Fordham University Press, 2017), essays in J19, ESQ, African American Literature, MELUS, and variety of scholarly collections on African American literature and culture. She is the editor of Conditions of the Present: Selected Essays by Lindon Barrett (Duke University Press, 2018). Her current research focuses on African American literature of Western migration in the wake of the California Gold Rush and the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law.
James Williams, a fugitive from slavery and the author of the only known full-length slave narrative published independently (in California), was born John Thomas in Elkton, Maryland, April 1, 1825. At age thirteen, he ran away from his master, William Hollingsworth, and fled to Pennsylvania. … Read MoreJames Williams (1825- ?)