Cal. Litig. 2020, Volume 33, Number 3

Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America

By W. Caleb McDaniel

Reviewed by Marc Alexander

Marc Alexander is a mediator at AlvaradoSmith APC. He publishes California Mediation and Arbitration ( and is a co-contributor to California Attorney’s Fees (

"A rather interesting case has been commenced in the Superior Court of this city," reported the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1870, "out of the custom of slavery, now supposed to be extinct." The plaintiff, Henrietta Wood, a former resident of Cincinnati, had sued Zebulon Ward, alleging she had been abducted by Ward’s slave trading agent, and delivered to Kentucky from Cincinnati, the place where she had enjoyed her "sweet taste of liberty." She was then reenslaved in Kentucky and sold to subsequent plantation owners, "remaining there in the bonds of slavery until her shackles were knocked off by the lamented Mr. Lincoln." She asked for $20,000 in damages, including years of lost wages.

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