Abolition, Abolitionist

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Growing up Abolitionist: The Story of the Garrison Children

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Much has been written about the life of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879), but relatively little attention has been paid to his wife, Helen Benson Garrison, and their seven children. In Growing Up Abolitionist, Garrison's public image recedes into the background and the family's private world takes center stage. The lives of the Garrison children were shaped within the context of the great nineteenth-century campaigns against slavery, racism, violence, war, imperialism, and the repression of women. As children, they became apprentices of these movements and grew up adoring their dissident parents. Collectively and individually, they carried on their parents' values in distinctive ways. Their path was not always easy. When the Civil War erupted, the entire family had to come to grips with a basic contradiction in their lives. While each member passionately yearned for the end of slavery, all but the eldest son, George, who served as an officer with the 55th Massachusetts Colored Regiment, opposed military participation. The Civil War years also brought four marriage partners into the Garrisons' lives-Ellen Wright, Lucy McKim, and Annie Anthony (all abolitionist daughters) and Henry Villard, a German-born journalist who later became a railroad magnate and publisher of the New York Evening Post and the Nation. Raised by loving parents to be political activists, the Garrison children, as adults, assumed positions as leaders or participants in those radical causes of their day that most closely reflected their upbringing: racial justice, women's rights, anti-imperialism, and peace.
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More Than Freedom Fighting for Black Citizenship in a White Republic, 1829-1889

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"A major new narrative account of the long struggle of Northern activists-both black and white, famous and obscure-to establish African Americans as free citizens, from abolitionism through the Civil War, Reconstruction, and its demise "

Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation is generally understood as the moment African Americans became free, and Reconstruction as the ultimately unsuccessful effort to extend that victory by establishing equal citizenship. In "More Than Freedom," award-winning historian Stephen Kantrowitz boldly redefines our understanding of this entire era by showing that the fight to abolish slavery was always part of a much broader campaign to establish full citizenship for African Americans and find a place to belong in a white republic.

"More Than Freedom" chronicles this epic struggle through the lived experiences of black and white activists in and around Boston, including both famous reformers such as Frederick Douglass and Charles Sumner and lesser-known but equally important figures like the journalist William Cooper Nell and the ex-slaves Lewis and Harriet Hayden. While these freedom fighters have traditionally been called abolitionists, their goals and achievements went far beyond emancipation. They mobilized long before they had white allies to rely on and remained militant long after the Civil War ended.

These black freedmen called themselves "colored citizens" and fought to establish themselves in American public life, both by building their own networks and institutions and by fiercely, often violently, challenging proslavery and inegalitarian laws and prejudice. But as Kantrowitz explains, they also knew that until the white majority recognized them as equal participants in common projects they would remain a suspect class. Equal citizenship meant something far beyond freedom: not only full legal and political rights, but also acceptance, inclusion and respect across the color line.

Even though these reformers ultimately failed to remake the nation in the way they hoped, their struggle catalyzed the arrival of Civil War and left the social and political landscape of the Union forever altered. Without their efforts, war and Reconstruction could hardly have begun. Bringing a bold new perspective to one of our nation's defining moments, "More Than Freedom" helps to explain the extent and the limits of the so-called freedom achieved in 1865 and the legacy that endures today.

Terrible Swift Sword: The Legacy of John Brown

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More than two centuries after his birth and almost a century and a half after his death, the legendary life and legacy of John Brown go marching on. Variously deemed martyr, madman, monster, terrorist, and saint, he remains one of the most controversial figures in America's history. Brown's actions in Kansas and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, provided major catalysts for the American Civil War, actions that continue today to evoke commendation or provoke condemnation.

Through the prisms of history, literature, psychology, criminal justice, oral history, African American studies, political science, film studies, and anthropology, Terrible Swift Sword offers insights not only into John Brown's controversial character and motives, but also into the nature of a troubled society before, during, and after the Civil War. The discussions include reasons why Brown's contemporaries supported him, attempts to define Brown using different criteria, analyses of Brown's behavior, his depiction in literature, and examinations of the iconography surrounding him.

The interdisciplinary focus marshalled by editor Peggy A. Russo makes Terrible Swift Sword unique, and this, together with the popular mythology surrounding the legend of John Brown, will appeal to a broad audience of readers interested in this turbulent moment in American history.Paul Finkelman is Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa College of Law. He is the author of many articles and books, including His Soul Goes Marching On: Responses to John Brown and the Harpers Ferry Raid and the Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference Peggy Russo is an assistant professor of English at the Mont Alto Campus of Pennsylvania State University. She has published in Shakespeare Bulletin, The Southern Literary Journal, Journal of American Culture, Shakespeare and the Classroom, and Civil War Book Review.

Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Abolitionist Movement

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Traces the process and influences behind the writing of Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, which was published when the nation was torn over the issue of slavery and headed toward Civil War.