Beyond the River

By Ann Hagedorn

Added May 6, 2009

From the highest hill above Ripley, Ohio, you can see the five bends in the Ohio River. You can see the hills of northern Kentucky and the rooftops of Ripley's riverfront houses. You can also see what the abolitionist John Rankin saw from his house at the top of that hill, where for nearly forty years he placed a lantern each night to guide fugitive slaves to freedom beyond the river. In Beyond the River: The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground Railroad, Ann Hagedorn tells the remarkable story of the participants in the Ripley line of the Underground Railroad. She brings to life the struggles of the men and women, black and white, who fought "the war before the war" along the Ohio river. Determined in their cause, Rankin, his family, and his fellow abolitionists - some of them former slaves themselves - risked their lives to guide thousands of runaways safely across the river into the free state of Ohio. They did this even when a sensational trial in Kentucky threatened to expose the Ripley "conductors". Rankin, the leader of the Ripley line and one of the early leaders of the antislavery movement, became nationally renowned after the publication of his Letters on American Slavery, a collection of letters he wrote to persuade his brother in Virginia to renounce slavery. Visit Ann Hagedorn’s official websiteBook jacket image and book description courtesy Simon & Schuster.

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