While much is known about the white men and women who were involved in the anti-slavery movement, the black abolitionists have been largely ignored. This book, written by one of America's leading black historians, sets the record straight. As Benjamin Quarles shows, blacks were anything but passive in the abolitionist movement. Many of the pioneers of abolition were black; dozens of black preachers and writers actively promoted the cause; black organizations were founded to support their brothers; black ambassadors for freedom crossed the Atlantic; blacks were instrumental in the operation of the Underground Railroad. Quarles puts it eloquently: "To the extent that America had a revolutionary tradition [the black American] was its protagonist no less than its symbol."
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(203mm x 140mm x 25mm)
Da Capo Press Inc
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
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US Kirkus Review »
This book takes up a theme adumbrated in recent scholarship on abolitionism - Negro participation in the antebellum anti-slavery movement. It is a circumstantial chronicle whose virtues rest with its scholarly data and its flavor of the times. Enough analysis is interpolated to keep the study from being a mere "Three-Negroes-participated-in-the-first-meeting-of-the-American-Anti-Slavery-Association" transcript. Professor Quarles accomplishes his main purpose: to show that there were numbers of dedicated, resourceful black people contributing to the cause, and that their efforts were bound up with equal-rights and self-improvement movements. The book covers the years between the Federalist period and the Civil War, when Northern freedmen were organizing, publishing, manning Underground Railroad links, agitating for temperance, fighting the Fugitive Slave Law. Not only classic heroes like Douglass but black clergymen, auxiliary women, delegates to England are resuscitated - and also the mostly paternalistic white abolitionists, who mostly disbelieved in racial equality. Quarles touches on questions which students will pursue: the shift from anti-"colonization" sentiment, the debates over integrated or all-black reform societies, the issue of pacifism. One hopes for a sequel on black abolitionists during the Civil War; meanwhile this is important, inspired pedantry with an eager audience. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Benjamin Quarles
Benjamin Quarles (1904--1996) was a noted author, editor, and historian and the first African American to be published in what later became the Journal of American History. Africana hails him as a key figure in the emergence of African-American history as an academic discipline.