Having bought his way out of slavery, John P. Parker is now a successful inventor of machinery and owner of an iron foundry in Ripley, Ohio. The opera begins with Parker embarking on the most difficult mission of his long career as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. A cruel Kentucky slave owner named Sroufe, who also is a customer of Parker, drunkenly dares him to come on his land and try to steal his "property" to "run away" one of his slaves. Not a man to back away from a good challenge, Mr. Parker faces and overcomes a series of harrowing obstacles as he, with the support of the Ripley townsfolk, succeeds in bringing the McDowell family across the river and on their way to safety. This central adventure in
Rise for Freedom is drawn from John P. Parker's deeply moving autobiography His Promised Land.
Chip Chandler, The Amarillo Globe-News; Andrew L. Pincus, Berkshire Eagle; Janelle Gelfand, The Cincinnati Inquirer