On Saturday, residents gathered at the African American Museum and Library (AAMLO) in downtown Oakland to hear the story of a former slave who spied on the Confederate government during the Civil War. Award-winning author Lois Leveen read from her book The Secrets of Mary Bowser, a novel that combines historical information about Bowser while weaving those facts into a work of historical fiction about the life of a spy in the home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis during the time when “freedom” was new concept for blacks in America.

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