Amos Fortune, Free Man

by Elizabeth Yates

Hardcover, 1950



Local notes

Fic Yat



E. P. Dutton (1967), Edition: 1, 192 pages


The life of the eighteenth-century African prince who, after being captured by slave traders, was brought to Massachusetts where he was a slave until he was able to buy his freedom at the age of sixty.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

192 p.; 5.64 inches


0525255702 / 9780525255703



User reviews

LibraryThing member Hamburgerclan
I found this one to be a rather unusual slave story. It's the true tale of Amos Fortune, a chieftain's son who was captured and enslaved around 1725 and brought to New England, where he eventually purchased his freedom. One thing that's unusual is that it's set in New England. I'm used to the American myth that Massachusetts is the bastion of liberty, where everyone is a born abolitionist. In the early 18th Century, that wasn't the case. Another unusual twist is that the story is rather lacking in passion. While Mr. Fortune desires freedom, he's portrayed as living a quiet and humble life as a slave, methodically working to amass the money needed to purchase his liberty. He takes the racism in his society in stride, always taking the high road. Of course, this was written in 1950's, back when everybody was supposed to shut up and get with the program. Especially if your skin is dark. But despite being too soft on slavery, it's an interesting look at a noble and admirable man.
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LibraryThing member mrsarey
The remarkable story of Amos, a slave in Massachusetts. Born the son of a chief in Africa, the story follows his capture and sale in America and on through his purchase of freedom. A remarkable, unique look at slavery in New England.
LibraryThing member goodnightmoon
Good potential to develop a theme: devoting oneself to creating freedom wherever one goes. But we weren't given enough time to understand and appreciate Amos' character. Age 15 to 90 in 180 pages! And I found it hard to discern the point of the book: to marvel at Amos' wisdom? to describe lives of slaves and freedmen? to regret our prejudiced past? I'm not sure. One final note: the scene where Amos is jovially bidding on himself at the slave auction is very creepy!… (more)
LibraryThing member hgcslibrary
The life of the eighteenth- century African prince, who, after being captured by slave traders, was brought to Massachusetts where he was a slave until he was able to buy his freedom at the age of sixty.
LibraryThing member 1morechapter
This book tells Amos' story from his capture in Africa to his years of being a slave and finally to his final years as a free black man. Amos was the prince of his tribe in Africa, and it is a shock to him when he is captured for slavery. He is very lucky, though, as his owners treat him very kindly. He serves them well, saves his money, and is able to "buy" his freedom. He also buys his wives' (he was twice a widower) freedom. Amos is a gentle and kind man who respects both God and others. I highly recommend this story to both children and adults.… (more)
LibraryThing member barefootTL
ELIB 530A LibraryThing – Part E – 1st biography
This Newbery Medal winning story is about an African prince who is captured, sold into slavery and eventually buys his freedom as well as his wife and daughter’s freedom. The man who bought him was Quaker so Amos was allowed to learn to read and was treated well. Amos worked as a tanner and the book gives a glimpse of what that was like. (It was backbreaking work having to gather the bark of trees etc. and the curing shins probably smelled awful!) Amos’s character was an amiable, religious, gentle and strong man. This book seemed almost like a folktale with a happy ending but then I remembered it was based on a real man. As an aside, it was kind of cool to see that one of the men who signed his freedom papers had the same name as my son.… (more)
LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
The way that Ms. Yates describes Amos Fortune makes me wish I had known him. He is such a kind and wise and tender-hearted man - a true King. The story is perhaps not as realistic as it might have been in terms of describing the treatment of Black men and women but Ms. Yates focuses on the theme of true freedom - of knowing oneself and God - and it is a peaceful thing to read.… (more)
LibraryThing member mason4bama
This book is a very good but showing how a once young prince soon to become king of his people in an African Village was taken to become a slave. Amos works hard for his owners and proves that he can learn trade and save money to free slaves by purchasing them. He works hard to earn respect from all men with his skills.
LibraryThing member Whisper1
Born the son of the King of an African tribe, when he was 15 he was herded up with other village members, shackled and held as cargo in the ship until reaching New England whereupon he was sold on the slavery block.

This is his story from the time he arrived on colonial soil through the years he was a slave who eventually was freed, married and owned property.

This is a story of hope and courage. This is a story of the tragedy of slavery and the bravery of those who bore the burden.

A 1951 Newbery medal book deserving of this honor.
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LibraryThing member HaleyWhitehall
This book was won the 1951 Newbery Medal and I think writing styles have really changed since then. This book is written an omniscient POV which I didn't like. But it is a biography worthy of being told and worthy of being read. The story of Amos' journey as a young African prince captured in 1725 and sold into slavery, taught to be a tanner, and eventually given his freedom where he continued to ply his trade to provide for his family. It is a touching, inspiring story of triumph and the way it is written provides a good glimpse into the Colonial period.… (more)
LibraryThing member alcrumpler
Amos Fortune wasn't born into slavery, but was taken from his village, along with his family, friends and fellow villagers. Once he reached the states, he was determined to save as many of his villagers as possible, being in slavery made this difficult. As a slave, he did all he could to help others. Once he was able to buy his freedom, he would work and work until he could give freedom to other slaves.… (more)
LibraryThing member MrsLee
We used this as supplemental reading while studying American history. It is the engaging story of a man who was born in Africa, captured and traded as a slave, and never gave up the dream of freedom.
LibraryThing member debnance
Amos Fortune was born At-mun, the son of a king in Africa. Before he knew it, he was seized and taken to America, to be sold as a slave. He was fortunate, however, and was sold to a kind Quaker who treated him justly and beneficently and allowed him to buy his freedom. All his life (and he lived a long life, living to nearly one hundred) Amos helped others become free, including all three of his wives. With a copyright date of 1950, I anticipated there would be lots of racist elements to this book. There were, but the book was redeemed somewhat by the depiction of Amos as a pioneer, a good man, a man who led the way for others.… (more)




(98 ratings; 3.9)
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