Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad

Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad : The Geography of Resistance

4.23 (13 ratings by Goodreads)

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This enlightening study employs the tools of archaeology to uncover a new historical perspective on the Underground Railroad. Unlike previous histories of the Underground Railroad, which have focused on frightened fugitive slaves and their benevolent abolitionist accomplices, Cheryl LaRoche focuses instead on free African American communities, the crucial help they provided to individuals fleeing slavery, and the terrain where those flights to freedom occurred.

This study foregrounds several small, rural hamlets on the treacherous southern edge of the free North in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. LaRoche demonstrates how landscape features such as waterways, iron forges, and caves played a key role in the conduct and effectiveness of the Underground Railroad. Rich in oral histories, maps, memoirs, and archaeological investigations, this examination of the "geography of resistance" tells the new powerful and inspiring story of African Americans ensuring their own liberation in the midst of oppression.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 160 x 232 x 26mm | 519.99g
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0252038045
  • 9780252038044

About Cheryl Janifer Laroche

Cheryl LaRoche is a lecturer in American studies at the University of Maryland.
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Review quote

"This important addition to the scholarship on the Underground Railroad focuses on the role of free black communities. . . . Utilizing archaeology, previously untapped written sources, and oral history, the author makes a convincing argument for including black communities in the narrative about the Underground Railroad. Highly recommended."--Choice

"By considering the land itself a `geography of resistance' and using an interdisciplinary approach, LaRoche pushes the boundaries of traditional scholarship. LaRoche marshals significant historical evidence to connect black churches and the Underground Railroad. Quite notable indeed."--The Journal of Southern History "LaRoche deserves praise for her effort to situate free blacks firmly at the center of the scholarship on the Underground Railroad. She also makes contribution to that body of literature."--Civil War Book Review

"An exemplary model of nuanced, interdisciplinary scholarship."--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society "In this book Cheryl Janifer LaRoche provides a corrective to this gap in the history by taking a broader landscape approach to 'geographies of resistance,' and she also traces in understated terms but powerful examples the silencing of the same history."--The Journal of American History
"The Geography of Resistance is carefully researched, tightly organized, and written from the heart. . . . LaRoche recognizes the natural environment as an agent of history, and she deftly weaves the landscape into each story. The book demonstrates the level of scholarship that is now possible thanks to research conducted in recent decades by federal archaeologists and by African American historical organizations, and the work that has been encouraged and guided by the National Park Service."--Annals of Iowa
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Rating details

13 ratings
4.23 out of 5 stars
5 38% (5)
4 46% (6)
3 15% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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