Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. will be appearing in Philadelphia on Saturday, May 26, to promote his new novel, "Freeman" (Agate Bolden, May 15, $16). Pitts will sign copies of his book at the Rittenhouse Square Barnes & Noble,1805 Walnut St., (215-665-0716) from 1 to 3 p.m.
"Freeman," the follow-up novel to Pitts's critically acclaimed "Before I Forget" (Agate Bolden, 2009), is set in the post-Civil War South. The novel tells the story of three unforgettable characters and the choices they face as they make their way through the post-slavery world. In the wake of Lincoln's assassination, Sam Freeman decides to leave his Philadelphia safe haven and make the hazardous journey to his old plantation in Mississippi. He's compelled on this dangerous quest in search of Tilda, his wife, whom he last saw 15 years earlier. Unbeknownst to Sam, Tilda is being marched at gunpoint by her former master as he searches for lands to the west that will recognize his entitlements as a slave owner. The third storyline follows Prudence Kent, a headstrong young war widow who also travels to Mississippi to start a school for the freed slaves and honor her abolitionist father’s dying wish.
At its heart, Freeman is an indelible love story — sweeping, brutal, generous,
patient — about the feelings these people were determined to honor despite the enormous
constraints of the time. It also illuminates the heartbreaking, bewildering struggle faced
by a newly freed people who had spent generations indoctrinated in the belief that they
were property. Meticulously researched, unflinchingly honest, Freeman evokes a world
at once alien and yet disturbingly familiar in its exploration of race and class, and creates
a rich portrait of a deeply divided country trying to piece itself back together after a long,
|LEONARD PITTS JR.|
Leonard Pitts won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary for his twice-weekly syndicated column, which appears in more than 200 newspapers, and has won numerous other journalism awards. He is also the author of the collection "Forward From This Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009, Daily Triumphs, Tragedies, and Curiosities" (Agate Bolden, 2009); and "Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood" (Agate Bolden, 2006). Born and raised in Southern California, he now lives in suburban Washington DC with his wife and children.