Elizabeth’s Field by Barbara Lockhart is nicely woven faction about free blacks, slaves and their descendants on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and the manner in which the aftermath of the peculiar institution, known as slavery, has continued to impact their lives into the 21st century. Interspersed with the lives of actual persons of the antebellum period, the novel relates the desire for freedom, land, education and respect that were always fleeting. After the Civil War, the ownership of land, as precarious as it was, was the desire of all blacks because of the belief that land was the glue that held the family together as well as represented respectability and integrity. Conversely, the absence of land represented abject poverty, perceived shiftlessness, and being at the mercy of those with power and greed for their land.
Dr. Clara L. Small
Professor Emeritus of History, Salisbury University