Deliverance Mary Fields, First African American Woman Star Route Mail Carrier in the United States: A Montana History
1885. Emancipated slave, Mary Fields, rushes to the Montana wilderness, saves her friend’s life and remains, surviving inclement weather, peril and plots against her while helping Ursuline nuns and native american girls to survive. Employing strategy, grit and goodwill toward her community for thirty years, Mary Fields manifests a personal vision of rightful independence before her death in 1914. More
Award-Winning Literary Historical Nonfiction
Winter 1885. Mary Fields, an emancipated slave, receives news of her friend’s impending death. She arrives in the Montana wilderness and finds Mother Mary Amadeus lying on frozen earth in a broken-down cabin. Certain that the cloister of frostbit Ursuline nuns and their pupils—Indian girls rescued from nearby reservations—will not survive without assistance, Mary stays.
She builds a hennery, makes repairs to living quarters, cares for stock, and treks into the mountains to provide food. Brushes with death do not deter her. Mary drives a horse and wagon through perilous terrain and blizzards to improve the lives of missionaries, homesteaders and Indians, and, in the process, her own.
After weathering wolf attacks, wagon crashes and treacherous conspiracies by scoundrels, local politicians and the state’s first Catholic bishop, Mary Fields creates another daring plan. An avid patriot, she is determined to register for the vote. The price is high. Will she manifest her personal vision of independence?
McConnell's research enabled USPS to verify Mary Fields as the first African American woman star route mail carrier in the U.S. A narrative of Fields’ life in Montana from 1885 until her death in 1914, the chronicle examines women rights, bootleg politics, Montana’s turn-of-the-century transition from territory to state and its scandalous 1914 woman suffrage election.
Praise for Deliverance
O, The Oprah Magazine "10 Titles to Pick Up Now" February 2018 issue
An indefatigable former slave who braved the Montana Rockies on a journey to rescue a dying friend is the real-life subject of this 19th-century frontier narrative. Adventure abounds in this little-known tale of the heroic middle-aged woman who became the first female African American mail carrier in the U.S.— Hamilton Cain
Midwest Book Review
“Under McConnell's hand, the atmosphere, frontier challenges, and landscapes of Montana come to life. Mary Fields is a true historical figure, dramatized in novel format. Her story will delight readers who look for a blend of accurate historical facts, hard-hitting drama, and realistic scenes powered by a feisty protagonist whose values and concerns become part of the social changes sweeping the nation.” —Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer
McConnell has fashioned a historical narrative marrying prose and poetry, fact with creative writing. With the discerning eye of a photographer, the deft hand of a historian, and the literary heart of a poet, the life of Mary Fields, legendary black woman of Montana, rises off the page into living history. If the reader has any interest in Mary Fields, aka Stagecoach Mary, Deliverance is the one book you must read.—Cowboy Mike Searles, Author, Professor of History, Augusta University, GA.
A great story and history of Mary Fields, an important black westerner. A must read for youths and adults. —Bruce A. Glasrud, Author, Professor, California State University.
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