“It does a man no good to be free until he learns how to live.”
These were the words of Amos Fortune, born the son of a king of the At-mun-shi tribe in Africa. When Amos was only fifteen years old, he was captured by slave traders and brought to Massachusetts, where he was sold at auction. Although his freedom had been taken, Amos never lost his dignity and courage. He dreamed of being free and of buying the freedom of his closest friends. By the time he was sixty years old, Amos Fortune began to see those dreams come true. Amos Fortune, Free Man is a Newbery Award winner that is based on a true story.
In this classic tale of an African prince, stolen from his home, made a slave, and taken to America, it is the character of Amos that drives the story forward. At-mun was the son of the chief and would have been a good leader to his tribe if he had not been taken away to Boston. In Boston, a Quaker named Copeland takes the young man and calls him Amos, and his family teaches Amos to read and write. He acquired the last name of "Fortune" because he was so fortunate not to have been broken the way so many other slaves were, and in comparison to them, he was well-treated. Though Copeland died before freeing Amos, Amos does eventually become a free man. With his freedom, Amos is able to then help others to become free. This is a touching story about one man's commitment to freedom and how he achieved it. Reviewer: Kathleen Foucart