Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.
EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.
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MY BOOK BEGINNING
There are two versions of how Robin and Polly Holmes, both Missouri slaves, came to Oregon. One, told by Robin Holmes, is that his owner, Nathaniel Ford, persuaded him to come in exchange for his freedom. The other, told by Ford descendants, is that Holmes begged to come and Ford brought Holmes – and Holmes' wife and children – against his better judgment.
-- Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory by R. Gregory Nokes.
Breaking Chains is the story of Robin Holmes' 1853 trial against his former owner Nathaniel Ford for breaking his promise to free him and his family in exchange for getting Ford's Oregon farm up and running. Nokes uses the story of the Holmes family to explore how the issues of slavery and racism played out in the American West.
Nokes is a former journalist and the author of Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hells Canyon (reviewed here), the highly readable account of 34 Chinese gold miners murdered in Hell's Canyon in1887. There is a new documentary, also called Massacred for Gold, based on the book (watch the trailer here).