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Graham Russell Hodges and Thomas Adams Upchurch

[This entry contains two subentries dealing with black nationalism from the seventeenth century slave trade through the late nineteenth century The first article discusses the first formations of African national identities and the influence of various revolutions on black nationalism while the second focuses on the most significant figures ...



Gloria Grant Roberson

The passing of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 created an atmosphere of anxiety and urgency for abolitionists, who encouraged many slave men, women, and children to leave the South and travel north. Roused with news of the Underground Railroad—a network of antislavery advocates who would provide guidance, food, and shelter along the way—slaves gathered together in secret to plan escape. Comforted by news of blacks living free in Canadian settlements with housing, employment, and dignity, those who were resolute prodded the undecided. Runaways were instructed to travel under the cover of darkness—over mountains, through forests, across waterways—always heading north, where liberal sentiments promised to shield them from the slaveholders' encroachment on their right to be free. But was Canada really the utopia that abolitionists promised and enslaved men and women imagined?

The efforts of people who labored on the Underground Railroad to deliver fugitive slaves to Canadian shores truly ...


Michael L. Krenn

Through the early nineteenth century the ability of African Americans to effectively participate in U.S. foreign policy was extremely limited. These limitations are easily understood, as only a small portion of the African American population was free in the years following the American Revolution, and, regardless, freedom did not translate into political rights. Without the abilities to vote or to run for and hold public office, free African Americans were unable to play a significant role in the political arena. Nevertheless, African Americans sought to have a voice in the young nation's diplomacy. Though they had little impact at the time, their efforts helped to establish the broad parameters of the African American role in American diplomacy for years to come.

The limited avenues for official participation by African Americans in U S foreign policy resulted in fairly organized private efforts at influencing the nation s diplomacy Even before the ...



Frank Towers

Maroons were runaway slaves who lived as outlaws within the boundaries of slave societies. Their collective history, which spans the duration of North American slavery, demonstrates the power of African American resistance to slavery. The term maroon is believed to have been derived from a Taino root word with the meaning “fugitive,” which was combined with the Spanish cimá, or “mountaintop.” Marronage, meanwhile, was “the flight of enslaved men and women,” while grand marronage was desertion leading to permanent settlements.

Maroons undermined slavery in several ways Maroon communities proved that slaves could break their bonds and live free from the control of their masters Moreover the everyday life of Maroons depleted slaveholder wealth and stirred white fears of slave uprisings because Maroons lived off the plantation economies from which they had fled to obtain guns tools and clothing Maroons made dangerous forays onto plantations to steal from slaveholders ...


Paul Finkelman, Peter Hinks and Sam Hitchmough

[This entry contains two subentries dealing with African American personal resistance to slavery violent or nonviolent legal or not and its repercussions The first article provides a discussion of resistance from the colonial period through 1830 while the second article provides a discussion the topic from the antebellum period ...