Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates is an excellent living book on the horror of the slave trade, the sanctity of human life, and the privilege of freedom.

Beginning in Africa, the story gives us a glimpse into what life was like for the fifteen year old prince in the At-mun-shi tribe.

Torn from all he knew and loved, At-mun endures his inhumane journey to Massachusetts where he is sold in an auction to a Quaker, who pats himself on the back for paying outright for his slave and not bidding on his worth.

At-mun’s name is changed to Amos, and he is one of the fortunate few who were being treated less harshly than most.

But people were never meant to be bought and sold like property. Even though he has his freedom taken away, Amos never loses his dignity or courage.

By the time he reaches sixty, Amos is finally a free man. What does a man of sixty years do with his new found freedom?
He works as hard as ever, saving up all he can to purchase the freedom of his closest friends. He bought the freedom of his first two wives, but each only lived a year or two to enjoy it. This is of no consequence to Amos. He is comforted that they were able to die free and loved, never counting the cost of his hard earned dollars. “It does a man no good to be free, until he learns how to live,” he says.

This book opened a world of discussion as it made us consider how we ought to treat people, the wickedness of discrimination, the futility of freedom not used rightly, and how it’s possible for the oppressed to know freedom through Christ, and how those who are free to do as they please in this life, can yet be miserable, enslaved to sin, and perish eternally.

I would heartily recommend Amos Fortune, Free Man as a family read aloud with children aged 6 +, or for ages 9+ to read on their own.