Root and Branch: African Americans in New York and East Jersey, 1613-1863

Root and Branch: African Americans in New York and East Jersey, 1613-1863

by Graham Russell Gao Hodges
     
 

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In this remarkable book, Graham Hodges presents a comprehensive history of African Americans in New York City and its rural environs from the arrival of the first African—a sailor marooned on Manhattan Island in 1613—to the bloody Draft Riots of 1863. Throughout, he explores the intertwined themes of freedom and servitude, city and countryside, and work,

Overview

In this remarkable book, Graham Hodges presents a comprehensive history of African Americans in New York City and its rural environs from the arrival of the first African—a sailor marooned on Manhattan Island in 1613—to the bloody Draft Riots of 1863. Throughout, he explores the intertwined themes of freedom and servitude, city and countryside, and work, religion, and resistance that shaped black life in the region through two and a half centuries.

Hodges chronicles the lives of the first free black settlers in the Dutch-ruled city, the gradual slide into enslavement after the British takeover, the fierce era of slavery, and the painfully slow process of emancipation. He pays particular attention to the black religious experience in all its complexity and to the vibrant slave culture that was shaped on the streets and in the taverns. Together, Hodges shows, these two potent forces helped fuel the long and arduous pilgrimage to liberty.

Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
Hodges not only redirects attention to New York and East Jersey, a region of intensive slavery and significant African-American presence, but also extends the chronological scope of inquiry by starting in the early seventeenth century. . . . A useful book that draws attention to an important African-American community.
From the Publisher
Hodges's narrative proves exceptionally strong in the arenas of religion and rebellion.

Journal of the Early Republic

Hodges eloquently refutes the notion that northern slavery was more benign than its southern or Caribbean counterparts.

Journal of American History

A thoroughly researched and compelling picture of African Americans in New York and East Jersey.

American Historical Review

Hodges's work clearly deserves the attention of all who study African Americans in the mid-Atlantic area.

Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

A useful book that draws attention to an important African-American community.

Times Literary Supplement

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807847787
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
10/04/1999
Series:
The John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture
Edition description:
1
Pages:
424
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.98(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
In this compelling and provocative book, Graham Hodges asks us to look at the early history of African Americans in the New York region with fresh eyes. . . . Hodges's work clearly deserves the attention of all who study African Americans in the mid-Atlantic area. This compact overview of the struggles of the founding generations of New York's large and influential black community offers the mature reflections of a scholar who has spent many years recovering the stories of a people who indelibly shaped the region's history.—Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

Hodges has taken on the commendable and consuming task of writing the history of black New York from its colonial beginnings in 1613 through the tumultuous early years of the Civil War. . . . Hodges has contributed tremendously not only to the historiography of African-American life, but also to the narratives of colonial, early American, and antebellum history.—Journal of the Early Republic

Hodges's praiseworthy effort displays the rich source material and potential in the story of black New York generations before Harlem's rise. His efforts to connect his findings to recent scholarship on slavery and black identity and cultural development further suggest the capacity black New York's story holds to clarify both traditional and alternative paradigms for the contested meaning of slavery, African-American community formation, and race relations.—William and Mary Quarterly

This well-crafted and thoughtful work is a splendid addition to the literature on African societies in North America from first arrivals through the triumph of the abolition movement.—Wilson J. Moses, Pennsylvania State University

A thoroughly researched and compelling picture of African Americans in New York and East Jersey forging a distinctive, syncretic culture that served as the engine of their struggle for freedom.—American Historical Review

Root & Branch sheds tremendous light upon African-American community formation in the urban North. . . . Hodges has managed to paint a complete and complex picture of the transition from slavery to freedom made by African Americans. Hodges's narrative proves exceptionally strong in the arenas of religion and rebellion.—Journal of the Early Republic

Provides the first comprehensive account of New York City blacks. . . . [This] sweeping history is filled with information and thoughtful analysis.—Choice

Hodges not only redirects attention to New York and East Jersey, a region of intensive slavery and significant African-American presence, but also extends the chronological scope of inquiry by starting in the early seventeenth century. . . . His discussion of African-Americans in the era of the American Revolution is particularly valuable, for it reveals how the potential for African-American freedom at the end of slavery was circumscribed. . . . A useful book that draws attention to an important African-American community.—Times Literary Supplement

Hodges eloquently refutes the notion that northern slavery was more benign than its southern or Caribbean counterparts. . . . A superb work of scholarship. Hodges has mined a truly impressive range of materials to create a compelling account of the contours of black life in a region that historians of slavery have generally chosen to ignore.—Journal of American History

Meet the Author

Graham Russell Hodges is professor of early American history at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. His books include New York City Cartmen, 1667-1850 and Slavery and Freedom in the Rural North: African Americans in Monmouth County, New Jersey, 1660-1860.

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