Slavery, Resistance, Freedom (Hardcover)
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|Americans have always defined themselves in terms of their freedoms--of speech, of religion, of political dissent. How we interpret our history of slavery--the ultimate denial of these freedoms--deeply affects how we understand the very fabric of our democracy. |
This extraordinary collection of essays by some of America's top historians focuses on how African Americans resisted slavery and how they responded when finally free. Ira Berlin sets the stage by stressing the relationship between how we understand slavery and how we discuss race today. The
remaining essays offer a richly textured examination of all aspects of slavery in America. John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweinger recount actual cases of runaway slaves, their motivations for escape and the strains this widespread phenomenon put on white slave-owners. Scott Hancock explores how
free black Northerners created a proud African American identity out of the oral history of slavery in the south. Edward L. Ayers, William G. Thomas III, and Anne Sarah Rubin draw upon their remarkable Valley of the Shadow website to describe the wartime experiences of African Americans living on
both borders of the Mason-Dixon line. Noah Andre Trudeau turns our attention to the war itself, examining the military experience of the only all-black division in the Army of the Potomac. And Eric Foner gives us a new look at how black leaders performed during the Reconstruction, revealing that
they were far more successful than is commonly acknowledged--indeed, they represented, for a time, the fulfillment of the American ideal that all people could aspire to political office.
Wide-ranging, authoritative, and filled with invaluablehistorical insight, Slavery, Resistance, Freedom brings a host of powerful voices to America's evolving conversation about race.
In his 91 years, John Hope Franklin saw many changes in American life, not the least of which was the election and inauguration just prior to his death of America's first African American president. As a historian, Franklin wrote about several different epochs, and at least one of his books was a classic: FROM FREEDOM TO SLAVERY, published in 1947. Franklin recalls his long life in his memoir MIRROR TO AMERICA, in which he recalls both daily insults and great achievements. Franklin was the son of a lawyer. He attended Fisk University and earned his doctorate at Harvard, then taught in many institutions of the first rank, including Brooklyn College, where he chaired the English department, and the University of Chicago. Scholarship and teaching were his paramount concerns, but he also served on the research team that prepared material for the case Brown v. Board of Education.