Dear Austin: Letters from the Underground Railroad
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Now in paperback! In this companion novel to Dear Levi, told in letters,11-year-old Levi helps a young African American in a harrowing flight for freedom along the Underground Railroad.
Hale? Y'all know who yah daddy be?” Jupiter nodded as his breaths came in fits and starts. “Winston,” I spoke up. “His pa is Winston Hale.” “Why, I knew of a Winston Hale married to a Delia on de Tate plantation in de state of Maryland. Had dem a baby called Jupiter. Don't tell, you be dat baby!” His voice suddenly grew friendlier, and he lowered his pistol. I gulped a breath of air, relieved to have the gun away from my head. Jupiter and I slowly sat up. When we did, we could see two men
preacher's wagon broke. A short spell later Fergus stopped by to offer his help. But the axle was beyond anything they could repair, so Fergus offered to give Winston and the preacher a lift to the nearest town. It wasn't until they had gotten into the back of the wagon that Winston recognized my old turnip head sticking out from behind the crate of chickens! ^When the preacher questioned Fergus, he told them of our meeting and where he thought we might be headed. Winston and the preacher
stalls all morning and plucking chickens for the church supper all afternoon, Miss Amelia wouldn't even let me into the kitchen to take my Friday-night bath. Jupiter -was with me, on account of Fridays are his day to work for Miss Amelia. Do you remember his sister, Darcy? Well, she's two years younger and comes with him to do the churning and the wash for Widow Needly next door. You can always tell -when Darcy is in the neighborhood because of her singing. When she isn't singing, she's humming.
once Darcy got the hang of reading, she didn't want to stop. I can't think why Darcy should not be allowed to learn to read and why she's got to plead to do it. There's plenty in my class who would plead not to do their schoolwork. I don't know how there can be a law that keeps folks from learning. I wonder at the men who thought up such a law and why they were so determined to keep a young girl from reading the Bible—just because of the color of her skin. It makes no sense, Austin. I never
see that she's getting braver and coming closer, we just start hooting and she runs away! I was telling Jupiter and Possum what I had found out about the Underground Railroad, and Jupiter's eyes got mighty big. I asked him if he knew any more about it, but he just shrugged as if he didn't. Possum had other things on his mind—namely, worms. When Possum gets on a new subject, hell go on about it for days. The subject of worms is what he's been stuck on all week. He said he'd been studying them,