Lessons of Freedom By: Holland O. Parran Jr. Lessons of Freedom tells the story of the young slave, Totter. As the son of his mistress’s former slave and best friend, Totter and Miss Anna share a special bond. Miss Anna loves and cares for him like her own—which includes teaching him how to read. However, teaching a slave to read is illegal and could get Miss Anna in trouble with the law if Totter is found out, not to mention what fate would fall on Totter should he be discovered. To ensure his safety, Miss Anna smuggles Totter off with a Mormon family to be free. While Totter travels with the Butlers and another young slave girl, they are ambushed by the Apaches. The Apaches kill Mr. and Mrs. Butler, but when Totter defends himself and the young slave girl with a pistol, he impresses the Chief and they are taken in as Apaches themselves. Now called Black Wolf, Totter lives with and learns the ways of the Apaches. Soon, the news of the Black Apache spreads around and settles on the wrong ears. Someone from Totter’s past knows he can read, and he’ll do anything to prove it and see Totter captured and thrown back into slavery.
Holland O. Parran Jr. has written this book for his mother in hopes that it will bring their family back together. Parran scoured old newspapers and has spoken with librarians across the South to find out more about his grandfather’s, his mother’s father, departure from the city in which he lived. Passed down from family member to family member, and then finally to Parran, he wrote Lessons of Freedom to pay homage to his grandfather’s story. The biggest lesson readers could take away from his book is that “There were good people of all colors and that includes Red. We could love each other then, we can love each other now.” Parran currently lives and writes in Aurora, Colorado.