Free but Unequal: The Limits of Emancipation

in In the Shadow of Slavery

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780226317748
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226317755 | DOI:
Free but Unequal: The Limits of Emancipation

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By the end of the era of emancipation, black and white reformers, responding to attacks on black life by those who saw free blacks as unfit to survive in the United States, increasingly labeled such manifestations of black public culture as harmful to the cause of black equality and freedom. Some blacks, however, retained a skeptical view of reform methods, whether promulgated by blacks or whites, and their ability to address such issues as employment and slavery. Increasingly in the antebellum period, dissension from moral reform in the black community was associated with workers and the poor. When black middle-class leaders frowned upon street culture and demonstrations, working-class blacks continued to use them to raise consciousness and achieve their objectives. In such divisions lay the ideological basis of class distinctions within the black community.

Keywords: emancipation; black life; public culture; black equality; reform methods; slavery; employment

Chapter.  16809 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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