Frost, Karolyn Smardz

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Frost, Karolyn Smardz


Education: Earned B.A. and M.A.; University of Waterloo, Ph.D.


Home—Collingwood, Ontario, Canada, and Nova Scotia, Canada. Agent—Bukowski Agency, 14 Prince Arthur Ave., Ste. 202, Toronto, Ontario M5R 1A9, Canada.


Postdoctoral fellow, York University, 2004-05.


Received research fellowships from Multiculturalism Canada, the Ontario Heritage Foundation, the Virginia Historical Society, the Anderson Center at Red Wing, Minnesota, the Bentley Historical Library of the University of Michigan, the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission, and the Filson Historical Society of Louisville, KY.


The Archaeology Education Handbook: Sharing the Past with Kids, AltaMira Press (Walnut Creek, CA), 2000.

The Underground Railroad: Next Stop, Toronto!, Natural Heritage Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2007.


Historian and archaeologist Karolyn Smardz Frost specializes in the history of African Canadians, and her book I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad relates the story of two of them. Thornton and Lucie Blackburn were fugitives from slavery in Kentucky who made their escape to freedom in Michigan in 1831. Within a couple of years, however, they were arrested and threatened with deportation to Kentucky. They were secretly freed, though, and spirited across the Detroit River into Canada, where they became the subjects of a notable court case in which Canadian justices ruled that American slaves who had escaped into Canada could not be extradited to the United States.

The Blackburns first came to Frost's attention, wrote New York Times contributor David S. Reynolds, when she was leading an excavation, "an archaeological dig beneath a Toronto schoolyard that uncovered the remains of the Blackburns' home—some broken household items, horseshoe nails, a dog collar, bricks heaped in a pit. The find was significant enough to attract worldwide attention and establish the place as a historic site on the Canadian Underground Railroad. Frost then spent two decades piecing together the Blackburns' tale from scattered sources like court records, census reports and artifacts almost two centuries old." The author's attention to "her subject and love of … documentation are evident," Vanessa Bush stated in her Booklist review, "in this engrossing look at a couple who defied slavery."



American Anthropologist, September 1, 2001, review of The Archaeology Education Handbook: Sharing the Past with Kids, p. 844.

American Antiquity, October, 2002, Robert Brooks, review of The Archaeology Education Handbook, p. 782.

Biography, spring, 2007, Robin Breon, review of I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad, p. 249.

Booklist, February 1, 2007, Vanessa Bush, review of I've Got a Home in Glory Land, p. 27.

New York Times, June 17, 2007, David S. Reynolds, "North toward Home."


Natural Heritage Books, (September 1, 2007), author bio.

Ontario Historical Society, (September 1, 2007), author biography.

Vanguard, (September 1, 2007), Eric Bourque, review of I've Got a Home in Glory Land.

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