Getting Started

I began to research the story. I started with a book called Fugitives of the Pearl. It was written in 1930 by John H. Paynter. He was a relative of the Edmonsons. Next, I found a book written by the captain of the Pearl. These books have been preserved for us to read. They told me what happened. I wanted to know more.

I looked at records and other documents from that time. I looked at ship passenger lists and court cases. I also read abolitionist  newspapers. An abolitionist was a person who believed that slavery should end. These materials are called primary sources.

Recreating the Past 

These sources told me that the Edmonsons owned a farm in Washington, D.C. Their father, Paul, was a free man. He was not a slave. Yet, the children were slaves. The law said they had to be slaves because their mother, Amelia, was a slave. Paul and Amelia wanted a better life for their children.