First Fruits of Freedom: The Migration of Former Slaves and Their Search for Equality in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1862-1900 [NOOK Book]

Overview

A moving narrative that offers a rare glimpse into the lives of African American men, women, and children on the cusp of freedom, First Fruits of Freedom chronicles one of the first collective migrations of blacks from the South to the North during and after the Civil War.

Janette Thomas Greenwood relates the history of a network forged between Worcester County, Massachusetts, and eastern North Carolina as a result of Worcester regiments ...
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First Fruits of Freedom: The Migration of Former Slaves and Their Search for Equality in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1862-1900

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Overview

A moving narrative that offers a rare glimpse into the lives of African American men, women, and children on the cusp of freedom, First Fruits of Freedom chronicles one of the first collective migrations of blacks from the South to the North during and after the Civil War.

Janette Thomas Greenwood relates the history of a network forged between Worcester County, Massachusetts, and eastern North Carolina as a result of Worcester regiments taking control of northeastern North Carolina during the war. White soldiers from Worcester, a hotbed of abolitionism, protected refugee slaves, set up schools for them, and led them north at war's end. White patrons and a supportive black community helped many migrants fulfill their aspirations for complete emancipation and facilitated the arrival of additional family members and friends. Migrants established a small black community in Worcester with a distinctive southern flavor.

But even in the North, white sympathy did not continue after the Civil War. Despite their many efforts, black Worcesterites were generally disappointed in their hopes for full-fledged citizenship, reflecting the larger national trajectory of Reconstruction and its aftermath.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A valuable case study for American migration."
-Journal of Enterprise & Society

"This study may serve as a window on the migration north of a specific group of freedmen and the degree to which they became integrated into a new community. . . . Highly recommended."
-Choice

"An important contribution to a previously neglected topic."
-H-Civil War

"A significant contribution. . . . A remarkable work of historical scholarship that tells an incredibly moving and often tragic human story. Greenwood's methodology—uncovering the ties between Civil War units from Worcester County and Northern migration movements through the diligent mining of census records, military records, and city data—provides future historians with a model for uncovering additional migration networks throughout New England."
-New England Quarterly

"A magisterial narrative that tells an incredibly moving and often tragic story about Reconstruction."
-Projo.com

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Janette Thomas Greenwood is professor of history at Clark University. She is author of Bittersweet Legacy: The Black and White "Better Classes" in Charlotte, 1850-1910, and The Gilded Age: A History in Documents.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

1 The Guns of War 11

2 The Prettiest Blue Mens I Had Ever Seed 27

3 These Are the Children of This Revolution, the Promising First Fruits of the War 48

4 A New Promise of Freedom and Dignity 88

5 A Community within a Community 130

Epilogue 174

Appendix 179

Notes 181

Bibliography 215

Index 225

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