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Corey-Birdsong2

Corey as he appears in Flying Free

All of the characters that appear in Corey's Diaries, Freedom's Wings, Flying Free, and Message in the Sky.

Main characters

Corey Birdsong

Main article: Corey Birdsong

Corey Birdsong (born August 8, 1848)[1] was the son of Angel and Roland Birdsong. He had a younger sibling named Star, who was born in 1858. Corey and his parents were slaves on the Hart plantation in Kentucky until their escape to Canada via the Underground Railroad. The Birdsong family settled in Amherstburg, where Corey began attending school. In January 1859, his best friend Mingo joined them in Canada, followed by Aunt Queen in November.

Supporting characters

Angel Birdsong

Angel Birdsong (born September 17)[2] was the mother of Corey and Star, and wife of Roland. Angel was an exceptional seamstress, her stitches being "small and even." She was reluctant to leave the plantation, but agreed at Corey's urging. After a long journey, Angel stayed behind in Ohio due to her pregnancy. In June 1858, her family began living in Amherstburg, Canada, where she became the town's best seamstress.

George Davis

George Davis (born c. 1847)[3] was a good friend of Corey. His family was from Virginia and had escaped to Canada when George was a baby. George's grandmother and uncle were still enslaved in Virginia. His family hoped to save enough money to buy their freedom someday. He first met Corey when they were working for Reverend Binga together. George attended school with Corey and their friends, Gwen Thurman and Swenson.

Gwen Thurman

Gwen Thurman was the niece of Mr. and Mrs. Thurman, who adopted her after her mother's death. Her mother was Mrs. Thurman's sister. Corey and his family became neighbors to Thurmans, after her aunt and uncle sold them a piece of their land. Gwen and Corey became fast friends. His classmates sometimes teased Corey about Gwen being his girlfriend. She later became friends with Gladys Jenkins.

Mingo Birdsong

Mingo Birdsong (born c. 1845)[4] was Corey's best friend. His mother was sold by their owner, Robert Hart. Aunt Queen acted as a surrogate mother to Mingo. After Corey left the farm, Mingo decided to make his own escape. He traveled to Ohio, where members of the Underground Railroad shipped him to Canada. In January 1859, Mingo was reunited with the Birdsongs. He began attending school and started working at a rock quarry. Aunt Queen later came to live with them after they purchased her freedom in later 1859.

Aunt Queen

Aunt Queen was a friend of the Birdsong family. She was also a slave owned by Robert Hart. Aunt Queen was extremely close to Mingo, whom she treated as her son. She initially refused to let Mingo leave the farm, though he eventually allowed him to. In November 1859, Aunt Queen was reunited with the Birdsongs and Mingo. They had purchased her freedom from Master Hart for one hundred and twenty-five dollars.

Roland Birdsong

Roland Birdsong was the husband of Angel, and father of Corey and Star. He was a talented blacksmith, who taught his son how to read and write. He ran away in late 1857, after learning about his owner's plans to sell him. Roland was reunited with his son and wife, whom also escaped, in June 1858. The family moved to Canada, where Roland found a job in a Navy Yard. He later went to work for a blacksmith, Mr. Bentley. Roland built his own house on land he purchased from the Thurmans. By the following summer, he had began planting crops.

Minor characters

  • Mr. Adams, the town crier of Amherstburg.
  • Babe Jameson was a free black man who worked as a blacksmith in Kentucky. Corey wrote a letter to Mingo and then sent it to Babe, so Master Hart would not know about it.
  • Mr. Bentley, also called The Malagasy Giant or just Giant, was a blacksmith. He hired Roland Birdsong to work with him. Mr. Bentley and his wife also rented out a small house to the Birdsongs.
  • Reverend Binga was the preacher of Nazrey AME Church in Amherstburg. The Birdsongs lived at the church for several months before obtaining their own home. In 1859, he went to Kentucky to retrieve Aunt Queen for the Birdsongs.
  • Charles was a slave on the Hart plantation. He ran away in September 1857 with Roland, but was caught several days later. Charles later successfully escaped sometime after the Birdsongs left.
  • Dodd was a student attending college in Oberlin, Ohio. Corey stayed with Dodd for a couple weeks while waiting for his dad.
  • Elsie was a teacher and abolitionist, who hid Corey and Angel in her schoolhouse for a day.
  • Mr. Foster, a citizen of Amherstburg, who owned a livery stable. Corey occasionally worked for him.
  • Gladys Jenkins was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins. She was separated from her father and brothers. Corey found her and her mother in Ohio, and helped take them to Canada.
  • Mr. Jenkins was the husband of Mrs. Jenkins and father of three children. He was separated from his wife and daughter while escaping the States. Mr. Jenkins began saving money to buy their freedom, after hearing that they were captured by slave catchers. His wife passed away after Corey helped her and their daughter to Canada. Mr. Jenkins then gave the Birdsongs his freedom fund to buy Aunt Queen.
  • Mrs. Jenkins (died August 8, 1859)[5] was the mother of Jim, Just and Gladys. After being separated from her husband and sons, she became deathly sick. Corey helped bring her and her daughter to Canada. However, she was died shortly after being reunited with her family.
  • Jim and Just Jenkins, the twin sons of Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins. Corey named two of his pigeons after them.
  • Jim, Just, Prissy and Scrawny are four pigeons. They always came to Corey whenever he called for them. The two birds were also able to do tricks.
  • John Alexander was Corey's school teacher.
  • John Parker, an abolitionist, who helped Corey and Angel cross the Ohio River on his boat. He brought
  • Mr. and Mrs. Johnston were a couple that escaped to Canada with their son, Sammy. The Johnstons daughter died on the way to Canada. They lived for a time in Nazrey Church.
  • George Washington Lewis was a citizen of Gist. He hid Corey and Angel in his house for a few days.
  • Mary Ellen was a friend of Dodd. She also helped search for Corey's father.
  • Mr. and Mrs. McCurdy were a married couple that operated a bakery in Amherstburg.
  • Nerva, a slave that Corey and Angel encountered on the Underground Railroad. She hid them in a barn for a night. The next morning, she showed them to a ditch, where John Parker found them.
  • Mr. Osborne, a former citizen of Amherstburg. He left Canada to join the abolitionist, John Brown.
  • Mr. Peche was the white postmaster of Amherstburg. His young son also worked in the post office. Corey often did small chores for Mr. Peche.
  • Pierre Peche was the son of Mr. Peche. He occasionally worked for his father at the post office. Pierre was friendly to Corey. Later, he told Corey that a package had came for him, which turned out to be Mingo.
  • Reverend Rankin was a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Corey and Angel stayed at his home in Ripley, Ohio for a night.
  • Mr. Renfield was an abolitionist. He was worried about Roland returning to retrieve Corey and Angel on his own. Therefore, Renfield visited the Hart plantation and convinced them to escape.
  • Robert[6] "Bob" Hart was a slave owner who operated a plantation in Kentucky. He searched tirelessly for Roland, Angel, and Corey after they ran away from his plantation. A year later, Hart agreed to sell Aunt Queen to the Birdsongs, following Mingo's escape.
  • Sammy Johnston was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Johnston. He attended school with Corey. Sammy once teased Corey about Gwen being his girlfriend.
  • Star Birdsong (born May 1858)[7] was the younger sister of Corey, who also named her. The following August, Corey accidentally lost her, but she was found safe the same day.
  • Susie Hart was the wife of Bob. She was generally in charge of overseeing the slaves duties.
  • Swenson was a friend of Corey and George Davis. He often annoyed Corey.
  • Thomas Fast Horse, an Indian conductor on the Underground Railroad. He helped Corey reach Oberlin.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Thurman were the Birdsongs neighbors in Amherstburg. After Mrs. Thurman's sister died, they adopted Gwen. They later sold a piece of their land to the Birdsongs.
  • Tut was a freeman who worked as a trapper. He agreed to help Corey find his father. Tut was later caught by slave catchers, despite showing them his freedom papers.
  • "Young Bob" Hart was the son of Bob and Susie. He was friends with Corey and Mingo. Young Bob sympathized with his family's slaves and hated to see them get hurt by his father.

References