K the bosses signaled the end of work and the northern plantation scurried to prepare rushing through chores Mending scavenging moss patching the leak in the roof The feast took precedence unless you had a pass to go into town to sell crafts or had hired yourself out for day labor Even if you were inclined to forgo the extra wagesand no one was so inclinedimpossible was the slave impudent enough to tell a white man he couldnt work because it was a slaves birthday Everybody knew niggers didnt Have BirthdaysCora Sat By The birthdaysCora sat by the of her plot on her block of sugar maple "and worked dirt from under her fingernails When she could Cora contributed turnips "worked dirt from under her fingernails When she could Cora contributed turnips greens to the birthday feasts but nothing was coming in today Someone shouted down the alley one of the new boys most likely not completely broken in by Connelly yet and the shouts cracked open into a dispute The voicescrotchety than angry but loud It was going to be a memorable birthday if folks were already this riledIf you could pick your birthday what would it be Lovey askedCora couldnt see Loveys face for the sun behind her but she knew her friends expression Lovey was uncomplicated and there was going to be a celebration that night Lovey gloried in these rare escapes whether it was Jockeys birthday Christmas or one of the harvest nights when everyone with two hands stayed up picking and the Randalls had the bosses distribute corn whiskey to keep them happy It was work but the moon made it okay The girl was the first to tell the fiddler to get busy and the first to dance Shed try to pull Cora from the sidelines ignoring her protestations As if theyd twirl in circles arm in arm with Lovey catching a boys eyes for a second on every revolution and Cora following suit But Cora never oined her tugging her arm away She watchedTold you when I was born Cora said She was born in winter Her mother Mabel had complained enough about her hard delivery the rare frost that morning the wind howling between the seams in the cabin How her mother bled for days and Connelly didnt bother to call the doctor until she looked half a ghost Occasionally Coras mind tricked her and shed turn the story into one of her memories inserting the faces of ghosts all the slave dead who looked down at her with love and indulgence Even people she hated the ones who kicked her or stole her food once her mother was goneIf you could pick Lovey saidCant pick Cora said Its decided for youYou best fix your mood Lovey said She sped offCora kneaded her calves grateful for the time off her feet Feast or no feast this was where Cora ended up every Sunday when their half day of work was done perched on her seat looking for things to fix She owned herself for a few hours every week was how she looked at it to tug weeds pluck caterpillars thin out the sour greens and glare at anyone planning incursions on her territory Ce texte fait r f rence l dition BrochTerrific Barack Obama An American masterpiece NPR Stunningly daring The New York Times Book Review A triumph The Washington PostPotent Devastating Essential Michiko Kakutani The New York TimesWhitehead s best work and an important American novel The Boston GlobeElectrifying Tense graphic uplifting and informed this is a story to share and remember People Heart stopping Oprah Winfrey The Underground Railroad is inuiring into the very soul of American democracy A stirring exploration of theAmerican experiment The Wall Street JournalA brilliant reimagining of antebellum America The New RepublicColson Whiteheads book blends the fanciful and the horrific the deeply emotional and the coolly intellectual Whathe comes up with is an American masterpieceAnn Patchett author of Bel Canto The Underground Railroad enters the pantheon ofthe Great American Novels A wonderful reminder of whatgreat literature is supposed to do open our eyes challengeus and leave us changed by the end Esuire Whitehead is the best living American novelist Chicago TribuneMasterful urgent One of the finest novels written aboutour countrys still unabsolved original sin USA TodayBrilliant An instant classic that makes vivid the darkest most horrific corners of Americas history of brutality against black people HuffPostSingular utterly riveting Youll be shaken and stunned by Whiteheads imaginative brilliance The Underground Railroad is a book both timeless and timely It is a book for now it is a book that is necessary BuzzFeedWhitehead is a writer of extraordinary stylistic powers The Underground Railroad offers many testaments to Whiteheads considerable talents and examines a deeply relevant and disturbing period of American history The Christian Science Monitor An ingenious novel A successful amalgam a realistically imagined slave narrative and a crafty allegory a tense adventure tale and a meditation on Americas defining values Minneapolis Star TribuneWhiteheads novel unflinchingly turns our attention to the foundations of the America we know now EllePerfectly balances the realism of its subject with fabulist touches that render it freshly illuminating TimeI havent been as simultaneously moved and entertained bya book for many years This is a luminous furious wildly inventive tale that not only shines a bright light on one of the darkest periods of history but also opens up thrilling new vistas for the form of the novel itselfAlex Preston The Guardian Ce texte fait r f rence l dition Bro. ,


Months as the property of a Welshman who eventually lost her "three other slaves and two hogs in a game of whist " other slaves and two hogs in a game of whist so onHer price fluctuated When you are sold that many times the world is teaching you to pay attention She learned to uickly adjust to the new plantations sorting the nigger breakers from the merely cruel the layabouts from the hardworking the informers from the secret keepers Masters and mistresses in degrees of wickedness estates of disparate means and ambition Sometimes the planters wanted nothingthan to make a humble living and then there were men and women who wanted to own the world as if it were a matter of the proper acreage Two hundred and forty eight two hundred and sixty two hundred and seventy dollars Wherever she went it was sugar and indigo except for a stint folding tobacco leaves for one week before she was sold again The trader called upon the tobacco "PLANTATION LOOKING FOR SLAVES OF BREEDING AGE PREFERABLY WITH "looking for slaves of breeding age preferably with their teeth and of pliable disposition She was a woman now Off she wentShe knew that the white mans scientists peered beneath things to understand how they worked The movement of the stars across the night the cooperation of humors in the blood The temperature reuirements for a healthy cotton harvest Ajarry made a science of her own black body and accumulated observations Each thing had a value and as the value changed everything else changed also A broken calabash was worth less than one that held its water a hook that kept its catfishprized than one that relinuished its bait In America the uirk was that people were things Best to cut your losses on an old man who wont survive a trip across the ocean A young buck from strong tribal stock got customers into a froth A slave girl sueezing out pups was like a mint money that bred money If you were a thinga cart or a horse or a slaveyour value determined your possibilities She minded her placeFinally Georgia A representative of the Randall plantation bought her for two hundred and ninety two dollars in spite of the new blankness behind her eyes which made her look simpleminded She never drew a breath off Randall land for the rest of her life She was home on this island in sight of nothingCoras grandmother took a husband three times She had a predilection for broad shoulders and big hands as did Old Randall although the master and his slave had different sorts of labor in mind The two plantations were well stocked ninety head of nigger on the northern half and eighty five head on the southern half Ajarry generally had her pick When she didnt she was patientHer first husband developed a hankering for corn whiskey and started using his big hands to make big fists Ajarry wasnt sad to see him disappear down the road when they sold him to a sugarcane estate in Florida She next took up with one of the sweet boys from the southern half Before he passed from cholera he liked to share stories from the Bible his former master beingliberal minded when it came to slaves and religion She enjoyed the stories and parables and supposed that white men had a point Talk of salvation could give an African ideas Poor sons of Ham Her last husband had his ears bored for stealing honey The wounds gave up pus until he wasted awayAjarry bore five children by those men each delivered in the same spot on the planks of the cabin which she pointed to when they misstepped Thats where you came from and where Ill put you back if you dont listen Teach them to obey her and maybe theyll obey all the masters to come and they will survive Two died miserably of fever One boy cut his foot while playing on a rusted plow which poisoned his blood Her youngest never woke up after a boss hit him in the head with a wooden block One after another At least they were never sold off an older woman told Ajarry Which was trueback then Randall rarely sold the little ones You knew where and how your children would die The child that lived past the age of ten was Coras mother MabelAjarry died in the cotton the bolls bobbing around her like whitecaps on the brute ocean The last of her village keeled over in the rows from a knot in her brain blood pouring from her nose and white froth covering her lips As if it could have been anywhere else Liberty was reserved for other people for the citizens of the City of Pennsylvania bustling a thousand miles to the north Since the night she was kidnapped she had been appraised and reappraised each day waking upon the pan of a new scale Know your value and you know your place in the order To escape the boundary of the plantation was to escape the fundamental principles of your existence impossibleIt was her grandmother talking that Sunday evening when Caesar approached Cora about the underground railroad and she said noThree weeks later she said yesThis time it was her mother talkingGeorgiavTHIRTY DOLLAR REWARDRan away from the subscriber living in Salisbury on the th instant a negro girl by the name of LIZZIE It is supposed that said girl is in the vicinity of Mrs Steels plantation I will give the above reward on the delivery of the girl or for information on her being lodged in any Gaol in this state All persons are forewarned of harboring said girl under penalty of law prescribedW M DIXONJuly vJockeys birthday only came once or twice a year They tried to make a proper celebration It was always Sunday their half day At three ocloc. .
Chapter The first time Caesar approached "Cora about running north she said noThis Was Her Grandmother Talking Coras her grandmother talking Coras had never seen "about running north she said noThis was her grandmother talking Coras grandmother had never seen ocean before that bright afternoon in the port of Ouidah and the water dazzled after her time in the forts dungeon The dungeon stored them until the ships arrived Dahomeyan raiders kidnapped the men first then returned to her village the next moon for the women and children marching them in chains to the sea two by two As she stared into the black doorway Ajarry thought "SHED BE REUNITED WITH HER FATHER "be reunited with her father there in the dark The survivors from her village told her that when her father couldnt keep the pace of the long march the slavers stove in his head and left his body by the trail Her mother had died years beforeCoras grandmother was sold a few times on the trek to the fort passed between slavers for cowrie shells and glass beads It was hard to say how much they paid for her in Ouidah as she was part of a bulk purchase eighty eight human souls for sixty crates of rum and gunpowder the price arrived upon after the standard haggling in Coast English Able bodied men and childbearing women fetchedthan Beatles: Una leyenda musical 2: Historias fascinantes y curiosidades inéditas de cada canción de los Fab Four (El legado musical de los Beatles) juveniles making an individual accounting difficultThe Nanny was out of Liverpool and had made two previous stops along the Gold Coast The captain staggered his purchases rather than find himself with cargo of singular culture and disposition Who knew what brand of mutiny his captives might cook up if they shared a common tongue This was the ships final port of call before they crossed the Atlantic Two yellow haired sailors rowed Ajarry out to the ship humming White skin like boneThe noxious air of the hold the gloom of confinement and the screams of those shackled to her contrived to drive Ajarry to madness Because of her tender age her captors did not immediately force their urges upon her but eventually some of theseasoned mates dragged her from the hold six weeks into the passage She twice tried to kill herself on the voyage to America once by denying herself food and then again by drowning The sailors stymied her both times versed in the schemes and inclinations of chattel Ajarry didnt even make it to the gunwale when she tried toump overboard Her simpering posture and piteous aspect recognizable from thousands of slaves before her betrayed her intentions Chained head to toe head to toe in exponential miseryAlthough they had tried not to get separated at the auction in Ouidah the rest of her family was purchased by Portuguese traders from the frigate Vivilia next seen four months later drifting ten miles off Bermuda Plague had claimed all on board Authorities lit the ship on fire and watched her crackle and sink Coras grandmother knew nothing about the ships fate For the rest of her life she imagined her cousins worked for kind and generous masters up north engaged inforgiving trades than her own weaving or spinning nothing in the fields In her stories Isay and Sidoo and the rest somehow bought their way out of bondage and lived as free men and women in the City of Pennsylvania a place she had overheard two white men discuss once These fantasies gave Ajarry comfort when her burdens were such to splinter her into a thousand piecesThe next time Coras grandmother was sold was after a month in the pest house on Sullivans Island once the physicians certified her and the rest of the Nannys cargo clear of illness Another busy day on the Exchange A big auction always drew a colorful crowd Traders and procurers from up and down the coast converged on Charleston checking the merchandises eyes and oints and spines wary of venereal distemper and other afflictions Onlookers chewed fresh oysters and hot corn as the auctioneers shouted into the air The slaves stood naked on the platform There was a bidding war over a group of Ashanti studs those Africans of renowned industry and musculature and the foreman of a limestone uarry bought a bunch of pickaninnies in an astounding bargain Coras grandmother saw a little boy among the gawkers eating rock candy and wondered what he was putting in his mouthJust before sunset an agent bought her for two hundred and twenty six dollars She would have fetchedbut for that seasons glut of young girls His suit was made of the whitest cloth she had ever seen Rings set with colored stone flashed on his fingers When he pinched her breasts to see if she was in flower the metal was cool on her skin She was branded not for the first or last time and fettered to the rest of the days acuisitions The coffle began their long march south that night staggering behind the traders buggy The Nanny by that time was en route back to Liverpool full of sugar and tobacco There were fewer screams belowdecksYou would have thought Coras grandmother cursed so many times was she sold and swapped and resold over the next few years Her owners came to ruin with startling freuency Her first master got swindled by a man who sold a device that cleaned cotton twice as fast as Whitneys gin The diagrams were convincing but in the end Ajarry was another asset liuidated by order of the magistrate She went for two hundred and eighteen dollars in a hasty exchange a drop in price occasioned by the realities of the local market Another owner expired from dropsy whereupon his widow held an estate sale to fund a return to her native Europe where it was clean Ajarry spent three. The Underground Railroad