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Amos Fortune, Free Man

Amos Fortune, the Free Man
Original cover illustration
Author Elizabeth Yates
Illustrator Nora Spicer Unwin
Country United States
Language English
Genre Children's novel
Publisher E.P Duntton New York
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 181
ISBN ISBN 0-14-034158-7
OCLC 19265732
974.4/00496073024 B 92 19
LC Class E185.97.F73 Y3 1989

Amos Fortune, Free Man is a biographical novel by Elizabeth Yates that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1951.[1] It is about a young African prince, who when people come and attack his tribe, is captured and taken to America as a slave. He masters a trade, frees himself by his own efforts and dies a respected citizen.


  • Characters 1
  • Plot 2
  • Note 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Amos Fortune - (ca. 1710 – 1801) born a prince in Africa, captured by slave traders and brought to America via the White Falcon (a slave ship). He is sold into slavery and eventually freed at the age of 60. Fortune worked hard to develop his tannery in the town of Jaffrey, New Hampshire, and became a valued member of the community there.There is also Violet Fortue who is his wife and Celyndia who is his daughter.


Amos Fortune, a young African prince of a tribe called the At-mun-shi, lives a peaceful life until a raid on their village by slavers kills his father, the chief. At-mun is kidnapped and sold in New England. Now called 'Amos', he is sold to a man named Caleb Copeland, and though the Copeland family do not treat him badly he rejects his slave status and determines to earn his freedom. He comes to an arrangement with Copeland, but when Caleb dies in debt the arrangement is disregarded, and so Amos is sold again to a man named Diabolic Richardson. Richardson teaches Amos about tanning, and he becomes a skilled worker. He is now about thirty. Amos works for Richardson for four years, then buys his freedom. He marries a woman named Lily, whose freedom he also buys; but she dies a year later. Amos is sad that she died, yet happy she died a free woman. Later he marries another African woman named Lydia, and it takes three more years to save up her freedom price. Lydia dies a year later. Again, Amos is sad she died but happy that she died free. He marries a younger woman named Violet, and he buys freedom for her daughter too. Amos moves to Jaffrey, New Hampshire to start his own tanning business there, and does so despite opposition. Eventually Amos saves up enough money that he buys his own land and he builds a house and a barn.

At one point Amos becomes very angry with his wife, who has taken money from him. He climbs a mountain and doesn't leave until he gets an answer from God. Eventually he receives his answer and climbs back down, then forgives his wife as she is sorry for stealing his money. She had done it to keep him from helping a woman named Lois who needed help to keep her children from being taken away. She was lazy and wouldn't support her children,but Amos had pity on her. He decides against helping her and keeps the money. Amos goes to buy the land that he has always wanted. They buy the land and they build a house before winter. They also build a place where Amos can work as a tanner. At this point in his life, he is 80 years old.

The book is based on the life of the real Amos Fortune, who was born free in Africa in 1710 and who died free in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, in 1801.


Most of the information here can be cited from this site. This site contains enough information to cover the Historical facts to this book.[2]


  1. ^ American Library Association
  2. ^ Amos Fortune: The Man and His Legacy
  • Lambert, Peter (2000). Amos Fortune, The Man and His Legacy. Jaffrey, NH: Amos Fortune Forum. 

External links

  • Book reviews on Amazon
Preceded by
The Door in the Wall
Newbery Medal recipient
Succeeded by
Ginger Pye
Preceded by
Winner of the
William Allen White Children's Book Award

Succeeded by
Little Vic
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