Texas was the darkest corner of the Old South, too remote and violent for even the bravest abolitionists. Yet North Texas newspapers commonly reported runaway slaves, and travelers in South Texas wrote of fugitives heading to Mexico. On July 8, 1860, Dallas, Texas burned. Three slaves were accused of arson and hanged without a trial. Today, most historians attribute the fire to carelessness. Silent We Stood weaves the tale of a small band of abolitionists working in secrecy within Dallas's close-knit society. There's Joseph Shaw, an undertaker and underground railroad veteran with a shameful secret; Ig Bodeker, a charismatic, melancholic preacher; Rachel Bodeker, a fierce abolitionist, Ig's wife, and Joseph Shaw's lover; Rebekah, a freed slave who'll sacrifice everything for the cause; Samuel Smith, a cryptofreedman whose love for Rebekah exacts a terrible cost; and, towering above them all, a near-mythical one-armed runaway who haunts area slavers and brings hope to those dreaming of freedom.
Henry Chappell is the author of two novels, Blood Kin and The Callings, four nonfiction books, and dozens of articles. He lives with his family in Parker, Texas.