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North of the Color Line: Migration and Black Resistance in Canada, 1870-1955

Overview

North of the Color Line examines life in Canada for the estimated 5,000 blacks, both African Americans and West Indians, who immigrated to Canada after the end of Reconstruction in the United States. Through the experiences of black railway workers and their union, the Order of Sleeping Car Porters, Sarah-Jane Mathieu connects social, political, labor, immigration, and black diaspora history during the Jim Crow era.

By World War I, sleeping car portering had become the exclusive...

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North of the Color Line: Migration and Black Resistance in Canada, 1870-1955

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Overview

North of the Color Line examines life in Canada for the estimated 5,000 blacks, both African Americans and West Indians, who immigrated to Canada after the end of Reconstruction in the United States. Through the experiences of black railway workers and their union, the Order of Sleeping Car Porters, Sarah-Jane Mathieu connects social, political, labor, immigration, and black diaspora history during the Jim Crow era.

By World War I, sleeping car portering had become the exclusive province of black men. White railwaymen protested the presence of the black workers and insisted on a segregated workforce. Using the firsthand accounts of former sleeping car porters, Mathieu shows that porters often found themselves leading racial uplift organizations, galvanizing their communities, and becoming the bedrock of civil rights activism.

Examining the spread of segregation laws and practices in Canada, whose citizens often imagined themselves as devoid of racism, Mathieu historicizes Canadian racial attitudes, and explores how black migrants brought their own sensibilities about race to Canada, participating in and changing political discourse there.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Truly innovative study. Recommended. Most levels/libraries." --Choice
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Sarah-Jane Mathieu is assistant professor of history at the University of Minnesota.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Abbreviations xv

Introduction: Birth of a Nation: Race, Empire, and Nationalism during Canada's Railway Age 3

Chapter 1 Drawing the Line: Race and Canadian Immigration Policy 22

Chapter 2 Jim Crow Rides This Train: Segregation in the Canadian Workforce 61

Chapter 3 Fighting the Empire: Race, War, and Mobilization 100

Chapter 4 Building an Empire, Uplifting a Race: Race, Uplift, and Transnational Alliances 143

Chapter 5 Bonds of Steel: Depression, War, and International Brotherhood 185

Notes 219

Sources 249

Index 269

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