“Galloway is like the supersecret agent who travels from North Carolina to the Mississippi River Valley,” the now-deceased historian Hari Jones told me when I interviewed him for a story on Civil War movies. “[He] gets captured by the Confederates, escapes, takes on two, three men at one time. He’s that kind of a guy, but he’s almost unbelievable because he’s been left out of the narrative for so long.”
Galloway was a man with swagger who openly carried a pistol in his belt. “He was a very attractive, very charismatic, you know, fly type of individual,” says poet and playwright Howard Craft. “And he comes strapped all the time,” marvels actor Mike Wiley. Craft wrote a one-man performance based on Cecelski’s book, starring Wiley.
Galloway was born 185 years ago, on Feb. 8, 1837, in a small fishing village on the Cape Fear River. He and his mother were enslaved; Abraham worked as a brick mason. At age 20, he escaped to Philadelphia and then Canada by hiding in the hold of a ship carrying barrels of turpentine, tar and rosin. He traveled to Haiti to join revolutionaries planning an attack on the American South that never materialized.
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SOURCE: NPR, Elizabeth Blair