Black Bostonians: Family Life and Community Struggle in the Antebellum North

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9780841913806: Black Bostonians: Family Life and Community Struggle in the Antebellum North
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An updated and expanded edition of a groundbreaking text. When originally published in 1979, Black Bostonians was the first comprehensive social history of an antebellum northern black community. At the time, most scholarship had focused on the nature and experience of southern slave society while few historians had directed their attention to African Americans in the antebellum North. Those that did seemed to be satisfied with a ""culture of poverty"" theory; that is, the idea that slavery and urban poverty had destroyed the antebellum black family and other community institutions, leaving African Americans trapped. Setting out to test this theory, the Hortons found quite the opposite. In antebellum Boston, the African Americans, some of whom were recently out of the bonds of slavery, had a highly organised community which was a centre of the antislavery movement. To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of this groundbreaking text, the Hortons have updated and expanded their original study to cover issues such as color distinctions among blacks, gender roles, and the impact of racial discrimination on relationships between African-American men and women. Analysing the structure of life and work in black Boston from the eighteenth century to the eve of the Civil War, the authors deftly blend quantitative and traditional historical methods to show the variegated fabric of everyday life in black Boston. They aid the reader in seeing how fugitive slaves and businessmen, washerwomen and barbers, churchgoers and abolitionists lived, worked, and organised for mutual aid, survival, and social action. The profile of this vital community, its characteristics and concerns, reveals the world of the antebellum free blacks and the network of family and community that surrounded and strengthened them in their struggle for freedom.

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About the Author:

James Oliver Horton is Benjamin Banneker Professor of American Studies and History at George Washington University. He is the author of Free People of Color: Inside the African-American Community. Lois E. Horton is professor of sociology at George Mason University. She is the co-author with James O. Horton of In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community and Protest Among Northern Free Blacks.

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