During the American Civil War, an educated Black woman posed as an illiterate slave in the home of the rebel President Jefferson Davis. Spying on the war councils of Davis and his advisers, she risked her life to send vital intelligence to the U.S. military. This was Mary Richards' one-woman fight in the ongoing battle to end slavery. Born into slavery herself but freed to be educated in the North, she was sent to Africa as a teenage missionary. On her return to the American South in wartime, she was recruited as a Union spy and sent on her dangerous mission to the 'Confederate White House'. She risked her life again after the war, teaching freed former slaves in rural Georgia, in the face of growing threats from the Ku Klux Klan.
She Spied for Freedom is about those who shaped Richards' world-among them, her benefactor and spymaster, Elizabeth Van Lew; her fellow agents; her three husbands; and those, like Jefferson Davis and his wife, she dealt with in the camp of the enemy. She Spied for Freedom is the story of a lone warrior for justice who faced poverty, illness, brutal racism, and life-threatening danger-but never surrendered.
Preface; Acknowledgments; 1 A Survivor; 2 Missionaries; 3 Spies like Us; 4 Jeff, Varina—and ‘Little Mary’; 5 Thomas; 6 Things Fall Apart; 7 Telling it Slant; 8 Teacher to the Free; 9 Vigilantes; 10 Alone Again; 11 Myth Makers; Appendix I: People in Mary Richards’ world; Appendix II: Mary Richards: Biographical timeline; Endnotes; Bibliography.