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Making Freedom: The Underground Railroad and the Politics of Slavery by R. J. M. Blackett (review)

Making Freedom: The Underground Railroad and the Politics of Slavery by R. J. M. Blackett (review) West Virginia History, N.S. 8, No.2, Fall 2014 Making Freedom: The Underground Railroad and the Politics of Slavery. By R. J. M. Blackett. (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2013. Pp. ix, 102.) Underground Railroad (UGRR) stationmasters, stockholders, and conductors assisted in the escape of thousands of runaway slaves through much of the nineteenth century. Early histories of the movement, typically written by the descendants of white abolitionists, largely denied agency to both the free and enslaved African Americans who played integral roles in planning and orchestrating escapes. R. J. M. Blackett echoes the work of recent UGRR historians, such as Keith Griffler, to contest this view and demonstrate black agency. He also examines the passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law and explains that the legislation shaped the political milieu of the period. The author illustrates how the actions of black and white abolitionists, escaped slaves, and southern lawmakers influenced local, state, and federal policies and shaped the future of both slavery and the national government. Blackett employs vivid examples from the Ohio Valley to demonstrate that the slaves themselves were motivated to escape based upon innate notions of freedom. Those who chose to self-emancipate http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies West Virginia University Press

Making Freedom: The Underground Railroad and the Politics of Slavery by R. J. M. Blackett (review)

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
Copyright
West Virginia University Press
ISSN
1940-5057
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

West Virginia History, N.S. 8, No.2, Fall 2014 Making Freedom: The Underground Railroad and the Politics of Slavery. By R. J. M. Blackett. (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2013. Pp. ix, 102.) Underground Railroad (UGRR) stationmasters, stockholders, and conductors assisted in the escape of thousands of runaway slaves through much of the nineteenth century. Early histories of the movement, typically written by the descendants of white abolitionists, largely denied agency to both the free and enslaved African Americans who played integral roles in planning and orchestrating escapes. R. J. M. Blackett echoes the work of recent UGRR historians, such as Keith Griffler, to contest this view and demonstrate black agency. He also examines the passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law and explains that the legislation shaped the political milieu of the period. The author illustrates how the actions of black and white abolitionists, escaped slaves, and southern lawmakers influenced local, state, and federal policies and shaped the future of both slavery and the national government. Blackett employs vivid examples from the Ohio Valley to demonstrate that the slaves themselves were motivated to escape based upon innate notions of freedom. Those who chose to self-emancipate

Journal

West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional StudiesWest Virginia University Press

Published: Dec 18, 2014

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