Ohio River (Location Key)


When James Beauchamp runs away from the McCaslin plantation, Go Down, Moses suggests that he doesn't stop "until he had crossed the Ohio River" (102). Before the Civil War, the Ohio was a boundary between slave and free states. In texts from Uncle Tom's Cabin to Beloved, 'crossing the Ohio' meant escaping from slavery - though as both those texts make clear, slaves could be pursued even on the other side of the river. Beauchamp was born the year after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. For him, the Ohio presumably represents the dividing point between South and North. (See also the entry in this index for Kentucky.)

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Ohio River

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