In the years leading up the Civil War, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.
It was meant to be a compromise between Southern slave owners and Northern anti-slavery movements.
Instead, it ripped the country further apart and placed a bounty on people who had otherwise earned their freedom.
This is the context in which North Carolina author Robert Morgan wrote his newest novel.
"Chasing the North Star" (Algonquin/2016) tells the story of a teenage slave who has escaped into the Appalachian Mountains, hiding by day and running by night with the north stars as his guide.
Host Frank Stasio talks with Morgan about "Chasing the North Star."
Morgan will read at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill tonight at 7 p.m.