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April 2014 , Page 62 

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Book Review: Snow-Storm in August: The Struggle for American Freedom and Washington’s Race Riot of 1835

By Maureen L. Rowland

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Snow-Storm in August: The Struggle for American Freedom and Washington’s Race Riot of 1835

By Jefferson Morley
Anchor (2013)

The name Francis Scott Key evokes the image of the American flag “gallantly streaming” at Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor “at twilight’s last gleaming” while the British unsuccessfully bombard the fort in September 1814. His penning of “The Star-Spangled Banner” made him a national folk hero. Even today, we consider him a patriot. Snow-Storm in August brings together this folk hero, a race riot, and a 19-year-old slave on trial for attempted murder.

Key’s refrain, “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” did not envision the America of today. His “land of the free” ironically permitted slavery. In fact, the Key family owned slaves in Maryland. His close friend and brother-in-law, Roger Taney, authored the Dred Scott decision as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. When Key was named U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia in 1833, he

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