Subversives: Antislavery Community in Washington, D. C., 1828-1865 / Edition 1

Subversives: Antislavery Community in Washington, D. C., 1828-1865 / Edition 1

by Stanley Harrold
     
 

ISBN-10: 0807128384

ISBN-13: 9780807128381

Pub. Date: 01/28/2003

Publisher: Louisiana State University Press

"While many scholars have examined the slavery disputes in the halls of Congress, Subversives in the first history of practical abolitionism in the streets, homes, and places of business of the nation's capital. Historian Stanley Harrold looks beyond resolutions, platforms, and debates to describe how desperate African Americans - both free and slave - and sympathetic…  See more details below

Overview

"While many scholars have examined the slavery disputes in the halls of Congress, Subversives in the first history of practical abolitionism in the streets, homes, and places of business of the nation's capital. Historian Stanley Harrold looks beyond resolutions, platforms, and debates to describe how desperate African Americans - both free and slave - and sympathetic whites engaged in a dangerous day-to-day campaign to drive the "peculiar institution" out of Washington, D.C., and the Chesapeake region." "That slavery was both vulnerable and vicious in Washington is at the heart of Harrold's study. Northern and foreign visitors were outraged by its existence in the seat of American government. For the South, Washington was a vital stronghold at the section's border. As economic changes caused slavery's decline in the Chesapeake and masters dismembered slave families by selling them South, local African Americans sought and received the support of a small number of whites eager to strike a blow against slavery in a strategic and very symbolic setting. Together they formed a subversive community that flourished in and about the city from the late 1820s through the mid-1860s. Risking beatings, mob violence, imprisonment, and death, these men and women distributed abolitionist literature, purchased the freedom of slaves, sued to prevent families from being separated, and aided escape efforts." Harrold overcomes the secrecy inherent to Washington's antislavery community to document its formation and activities with remarkable detail and perception. He shows how slaveholders and their sympathizers fought to reinforce their hold on a system under attack and how the dissidents raised a radical challenge to the existing social order simply by engaging in interracial cooperation. While some subversives held power as politicians and journalists, most were obscure individuals. Black and white women played an important role.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807128381
Publisher:
Louisiana State University Press
Publication date:
01/28/2003
Series:
Antislavery, Abolition, and Atlantic World Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
300
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.67(d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations Used in Notes
Introduction: Slavery and Its Opponents at a Vulnerable Point1
1Chesapeake Origins13
2Elements of a Biracial Antislavery Community36
3Charles T. Torrey, Thomas Smallwood, and the Underground Railroad64
4The Bureau of Humanity and the Sectional Struggle94
5The Pearl Fugitives and the Subversives116
6Subversives in 1850: Persistence, Change, Limits146
7Myrtilla Miner's School: Education, Feminism, Biracialism174
8The Weems Family and the Antislavery Network203
9Transformation and Disintegration225
Conclusion: The Significance of Subversive Biracialism253
Essay on Sources259
Index271

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