Free Boy

“The authors’ admirable primary-source detective work results in a context-rich story,” Publishers Weekly. 

“Written with deft, lucid prose, this book is a reminder of why lightly fictionalized biography is a marvelous genre. . . . Free Boy provides richly detailed settings and imagined conversations (based on documented events) that bring the story to life,”  readergirlz

“ An intriguing piece of scholarship,” Kirkus

Free Boy, A True Story of Slave and Master,
tells the story of a thirteen-year-old boy who escaped from Washington Territory to freedom in 1860 on the West Coast’s underground railroad. Charles Mitchell was the property of James Tilton, Surveyor General of Washington Territory, and this book is a twined biography of the two.

Co-authored by Lorraine McConaghy, historian at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry, the book was published by the University of Washington Press.  See our blog on the book.

The Newport High School orchestra, Bellevue, Washington, has performed orchestral pieces by composer Tim Huling based on Free Boy.  

The Fifth Avenue Theatre’s Adventure Musical Theater Company performed a musical based on Free Boy Free Boy castduring the spring of 2017.

Read an article about how the book was written in the University of Washington alumni magazine Columns.

Read an interview with Judy in the Madison Courier, published in Madison, Indiana.

Visit for documents and curriculum materials for Free Boy.  Blackpast is a source for African-American history created by Dr. Quintard Taylor at the University of Washington.

    2 thoughts on “Free Boy

    • May 17, 2017 at 11:05 pm

      Your show was presented at my school today. I cannot even begin to express how much I enjoyed the wonderful story and performance. Even my first graders were enthralled and followed the story. The performance was moving and magnificent.

      • May 18, 2017 at 4:37 am

        Thank you. I think the actors and scriptwriter and musicians have interpreted this story wonderfully.


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