Book

First Fruits of Freedom

Janette Thomas Greenwood

Published by University of North Carolina Press

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780807833629
Published online July 2014 | e-ISBN: 9781469604275
First Fruits of Freedom

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This book offers a moving narrative that offers a rare glimpse into the lives of African American men, women, and children on the cusp of freedom. It chronicles one of the first collective migrations of blacks from the South to the North during and after the Civil War. The book relates the history of a network forged between Worcester County, Massachusetts, and eastern North Carolina as a result of Worcester regiments taking control of northeastern North Carolina during the war. White soldiers from Worcester, a hotbed of abolitionism, protected refugee slaves, set up schools for them, and led them north at war's end. White patrons and a supportive black community helped many migrants fulfill their aspirations for complete emancipation and facilitated the arrival of additional family members and friends. Migrants established a small black community in Worcester with a distinctive southern flavour. But even in the North, white sympathy did not continue after the Civil War. Despite their many efforts, black Worcesterites were generally disappointed in their hopes for full-fledged citizenship, reflecting the larger national trajectory of Reconstruction and its aftermath.

Keywords: migrations; North Carolina; Civil War; Worcester; abolitionism; refugee slaves; Reconstruction

Book.  256 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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Table of Contents

Introduction in First Fruits of Freedom

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The Guns of War in First Fruits of Freedom

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The Prettiest Blue Mens I Had Ever Seed in First Fruits of Freedom

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A New Promise of Freedom and Dignity in First Fruits of Freedom

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A Community Within a Community in First Fruits of Freedom

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Epilogue in First Fruits of Freedom

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