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By Eric Foner

The dramatic tale of fugitive slaves and the antislavery activists who defied the legislation to aid them achieve freedom.

More than the other student, Eric Foner has prompted our knowing of America's background. Now, making extraordinary use of amazing facts, the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian once more reconfigures the nationwide saga of yankee slavery and freedom.

A deeply entrenched establishment, slavery lived on legally and commercially even within the northern states that had abolished it after the yankee Revolution. Slaves may be present in the streets of latest York good after abolition, touring with vendors doing enterprise with the city's significant banks, retailers, and brands. ny used to be additionally domestic to the North’s greatest unfastened black group, making it a magnet for fugitive slaves looking shelter. Slave catchers and gangs of kidnappers roamed town, seizing loose blacks, frequently childrens, and sending them south to slavery.

To guard fugitives and struggle kidnappings, the city's unfastened blacks labored with white abolitionists to arrange the hot York Vigilance Committee in 1835. within the 1840s vigilance committees proliferated during the North and commenced taking part to dispatch fugitive slaves from the higher South, Washington, and Baltimore, via Philadelphia and manhattan, to Albany, Syracuse, and Canada. those networks of antislavery resistance, headquartered on big apple urban, turned referred to as the underground railroad. pressured to function in secrecy by way of antagonistic legislation, courts, and politicians, the city’s underground-railroad brokers helped greater than 3,000 fugitive slaves succeed in freedom among 1830 and 1860. earlier, their tales have remained mostly unknown, their importance little understood.

Building on clean evidence―including an in depth checklist of slave escapes secretly saved by way of Sydney Howard homosexual, one of many key organizers in New York―Foner elevates the underground railroad from folklore to sweeping heritage. the tale is inspiring―full of memorable characters making their first visual appeal at the old stage―and significant―the controversy over fugitive slaves infected the sectional situation of the 1850s. it will definitely took a civil conflict to ruin American slavery, yet the following ultimately is the tale of the brave attempt to struggle slavery via "practical abolition," individual by means of individual, kin via family.

24 pages of illustrations

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Karcher, the 1st lady within the Republic: A Cultural Biography of Lydia Maria baby (Durham, N. C. , 1994), 260; Lewis Tappan to William Jay, October five, 1835, JJH; Oliver Johnson, William Lloyd Garrison and His occasions (Boston, 1880), 289–92; CA, may well 23, 1840. 32.

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