Blacks on the Border: The Black Refugees in British North America, 1815-1860

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Overview

Following the American Revolution, free black communities and enslaved African Americans increasingly struggled to reconcile their African heritage with their American home. This struggle resulted in tens of thousands of African Americans seeking new homes in areas as diverse as Haiti and Nova Scotia. Black refugees arrived in Nova Scotia after the War of 1812 with little in common but their desire for freedom. By 1860, they had formed families, communities, and traditions.

Harvey Amani Whitfield’s study reconstructs the lives and history of a sizeable but neglected group of African Americans by placing their history within the framework of free black communities in New England and Nova Scotia during the nineteenth century. It examines which aspects of American and African American culture black expatriates used or discarded in an area that forced them to negotiate the overlapping worlds of Great Britain, the United States, Afro–New England, and the African American Diaspora, while considering how former American slaves understood freedom long before the Civil War.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Whitfield is unlikely to be surpassed in his analysis of the reasons for emigration to Nova Scotia....an excellent book.”—American Review of Canadian Studies
Review

“Canadians, especially Nova Scotians, are indebted to Amani Whitfield, an American scholar, who first came to Nova Scotia in 1997 to study for his masters in history. After six years of research and writing and a recent Ph.D., he has written a powerful book, a tour de force. With insightful analysis, he describes how former American slaves from diverse backgrounds became Black Refugees in Canada and eventually formed a distinct culture of Black people before the American Civil War.”—New England Quarterly

“...[A]n inspiration for other historians who want to understand race and identity in the Atlantic world.”—Journal of the Early Republic

“Whitfield writes history as an informed storyteller, not as a remote scientist, and so he brings to life, dexterously, the context and the complexity of the 2,000 or so African Americans who, as a result of a war policy, found themselves ‘liberated’ by British forces and dispatched to Nova Scotia between 1812-1815.”—Halifax Chronicle Herald

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584656067
  • Publisher: University Press of New England
  • Publication date: 11/30/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 198
  • Sales rank: 845,344
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

HARVEY AMANI WHITFIELD is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Vermont.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Abbreviations
Introduction
Nova Scotian and American Background, 1605–1815
Slavery and Freedom in Nova Scotia
Two Distinct Cultures of Slavery
Opportunities and Obstacles in Nova Scotia, 1815–1860
Settlement and Struggle
Working Folks
Community and Identity
Epilogue
Notes
Bibliography
Index
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