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Israel on the Appomattox: a Southern Experiment in Black Freedom from the 1700s through the Civil War. By Melvin Patrick Ely tells the story of these liberated blacks and the community they formed, called Israel Hill, in Prince Edward County, Virginia. There, ex-slaves established farms, navigated the Appomattox River, and became entrepreneurs. Free blacks and whites did business with one another, sued each other, worked side by side for equal wages, joined forces to found a Baptist congregation, moved west together, and occasionally settled down as man and wife. Slavery cast its grim shadow, even over the lives of the free, yet on Israel Hill we discover a moving story of hardship and hope that defies our expectations of the Old South. WINNER OF THE BANCROFT PRIZEA New York Times Book Review and Atlantic Monthly Editors' Choice Paperback - 656 pages