Fugitive-slave book wins another award

Karolyn Smardz Frost, author of the award-winning I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad, has won the 2009 Underground Railroad Free Press Prize for the Advancement of Knowledge. 

Smardz Frost received the prize for her archeological work on Canadian Underground Railroad sites and her public lectures, based on 25 years of research for her 2007 book about a fugitive slave couple from Kentucky who escaped to make a new life in Toronto in the 1830s.

Smardz Frost, who has taught primary research methods, and Toronto and African Canadian history at York, is currently research associate at the new York Centre for Education & Community in the Faculty of Education.

I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land won the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction and a 2008 Heritage Toronto Award of Merit. It also received an honourable mention for the Albert B. Corey Prize, given jointly by the American Historical Association and Canadian Historical Association for the best book in US-Canadian relations in 2007-2008. The book reached No. 4 on the Maclean’s bestseller list and was favourably reviewed in The New York Times Sunday Book Review.

Smardz Frost is a Canadian archeologist and historian whose 1985 excavation of the Thornton and Lucie Blackburn home in a Toronto schoolyard led to more than 20 years of historical detective work that resulted in the riveting I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land.

Smardz Frost (left) is at work on another book, Steal Away Home: Letters to a Fugitive Slave, which traces the correspondence between a slave owner in Louisville, Kentucky, and her runaway maid in Toronto.

The Underground Railroad Free Press was founded in 2006. It annually awards prizes for contemporary Underground Railroad leadership, preservation and advancement of knowledge. It operates Lynx, the central registry of Underground Railroad organizations, and Datebook, the international Underground Railroad community’s central calendar.