Chapter

The Long Shadow of Southern Slavery: Radical Abolitionists and Black Political Activism Against Slavery and Racism

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226317755.003.0007
The Long Shadow of Southern Slavery: Radical Abolitionists and Black Political Activism Against Slavery and Racism

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The solutions to racial inequality promulgated by both black and white middle-class abolitionists were increasingly markers of ideological differences between the black middle class and working class. A few blacks began to question the prescriptions for success spelled out by abolitionists. Some simply claimed working-class identities and pleasures privately, implicitly challenging moral perfectionism as the only way to prove black equality. Others, such as the porter Peter Paul Simons, publicly attacked moral suasion, nonresistance, and intellectual elevation as ways to achieve racial equality. Simons advocated manly physical struggle and greater public roles for women, forcing more conservative black middle-class abolitionists such as Samuel Cornish to defend their political methods.

Keywords: racial inequality; middle-class abolitionists; working class; black equality; racial equality; public roles

Chapter.  20150 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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