Striving to Deliver: Book review of Deliverance, a novel by Miantae Metcalf McConnell
The front cover of Deliverance proclaims Mary Fields (c. 1832–1914), the putative subject of the novel, ‘First African American Woman Star Route Mail Carrier in the United States’. The cover also announces that this is ‘A Montana History’.
Mary Fields had been born into slavery and was only freed with Abolition. She must have been a woman of great determination and perseverance, for she won the respect and friendship of the communities she served, and was an independent businesswoman. ‘Black Mary’, as she was known by many, even became the ‘mascot’ of a local baseball team. She did not become an employee of the US Post Office; rather, in common with other persons, she was contracted to deliver the mail on a specified route based on her initial bid, her guarantees and her dependability. In 1885 Mary was awarded the contract to deliver mail from Cascade, Montana to St Peter’s Mission.