It’s one of the warmest days we’ve had so far this year, but I still got goosebumps as we finished one of our Summer reads. Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates is an excellent living book on the horror of the slave trade, the sanctity of human life, and the power of freedom.
Beginning in Africa, the story gives us a glimpse into what life was like for a fifteen year old prince in the At-mun-shi tribe. Torn from his family and everyone he knew, At-mun endures the inhumane journey to Massachusetts where he is sold in an auction to a Quaker. His name is changed to Amos, and he is one of the few fortunate slaves who ends being treated less harshly than most.
But people were never meant to be bought and sold, and even though he had his freedom taken away, Amos never lost his dignity or courage.
By the time he reaches sixty, Amos is finally a free man. What does a man of sixty years do with his new found freedom? He works as hard as ever, saving up all he can to purchase the freedom of his closest friends. Many of them only have a year or two to live in freedom, but this is of no consequence to Amos. He is comforted that they are able to die free and loved, never counting the cost of his hard earned dollars. “It does a man no good to be free, until he learns how to live,” he says.
This book opened a world of discussion as it made us consider how we ought to treat people, the wickedness of discrimination, the futility of freedom not used rightly, and how it’s possible for the oppressed to know freedom through Christ, and how those who are free to do as they please in this life, and can yet be enslaved to sin and perish eternally.
I would heartily recommend Amos Fortune, Free Man as a family read aloud with children aged 6 +, or for ages 9+ to read on their own.