Seeker Speaker Series featuring Karolyn Smardz Frost

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Karolyn portrait Bruce Dienes 2016 2

02-23-19 3:00 PM
Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center Atrium

Cecelia Reynolds came to the Cataract Hotel with her enslavers. One night, she slipped across the Canadian border to freedom. Karolyn Smardz Frost is an award winning author and historian who tells Cecelia’s story in the book Steal Away Home. A book signing follows her one-hour talk. 

This is a free event, but you can RSVP to guarantee your spot.


 Black History Month at the Underground Railroad Heritage Center is generously supported by M&T Bank.

 About Karolyn Smardz Frost

Both an archaeologist and an historian, Karolyn Smardz Frost explores North America's rich African American and African Canadian heritage, and specializes in studying and teaching the Underground Railroad in the Great Lakes basin. She is an adjunct professor at both Acadia and Dalhousie Universities, and is consulting historical archaeologist for the Cataract House hotel excavations.

She is also an accomplished author of lively and intriguing narrative non-fiction. In 2007 Karolyn won the Governor General's Award for I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad.  Her co-edited A Fluid Frontier: Slavery, Resistance, and the Underground Railroad in the Detroit River Borderland (2016), won the Historical Society of Michigan Book Award.

Karolyn's newest volume, Steal Away Home (HarperCollins Canada 2016) tells the story of Cecelia Jane Reynolds, who at the age of fifteen fled her Kentucky by way of the Cataract House hotel at Niagara Falls NY. Reaching Toronto she learned to write and began a correspondence with Fanny, the woman who had once owned her body, asking the price of her own family's freedom. Thus began a twenty-year correspondence between a freedom-seeker and her former mistress that has no parallel in the annals of American slavery.

A finalist for the Atlantic Book and Heritage Toronto Awards, Steal Away Home won the Speaker's Award for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and the J.J. Talman Award for the best book in Ontario history over the past three years. The most exciting news yet is that Steal Away Home has been optioned for a five-part mini-series by Conquering Lion Pictures, which produced the Book of Negroes for television!