Jim Crow North: The Struggle for Equal Rights in Antebellum New England

Jim Crow North: The Struggle for Equal Rights in Antebellum New England

by Richard Archer

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More than a century before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus, Shadrach Howard, David Ruggles, Frederick Douglass, and others had rejected demands that they relinquish their seats on various New England railroads. They were protesting segregation on Jim Crow cars, a term that originated in New England in 1839. Theirs was part of a larger movement for equal rights in antebellum New England. Using sit-ins, boycotts, petition drives, and other initiatives, African-American New Englanders and their white allies attempted to desegregate schools, transportation, neighborhoods, churches, and cultural venues. Above all they sought to be respected and treated as equals in a reputedly democratic society. Jim Crow North is the tale of that struggle and the racism that prompted it.

Despite widespread racism, black New Englanders were remarkably successful. By the advent of the Civil War African American men could vote and hold office in every New England state but Connecticut. Schools, except in the largest cities of Connecticut and Rhode Island, were integrated. Railroads, stagecoaches, hotels, and cultural venues (with occasional aberrations) were free from discrimination. People of African descent and of European descent could marry one another and live peaceably, even in Maine and Rhode Island where such marriages were legally prohibited. There was an emerging, if still small, black middle class who benefitted most. But there were limits to progress. A majority of African-Americans in New England were mired in poverty preventing full equality both then and now.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190676643
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 10/18/2017
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 1,012,781
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Richard Archer is a Professor of History Emeritus at Whittier College. He is the author of two previous books on New England, Fissures in the Rock: New England in the Seventeenth Century and As If an Enemy's Country: The British Occupation of Boston and the Origins of Revolution.

Table of Contents

Part I: Jim Crow in New England

Chapter 1: The World of Hosea Easton and David Walker
Chapter 2: New England's Peculiar Institution
Chapter 3: Emancipation and Free African Americans

Part II: Girding Up

Chapter 4: Unity and Uplift
Chapter 5: Advanced Education
Chapter 6: Intimidation, Assaults, and Riots

Part III: Towards Equality

Chapter 7: Riding the Rails with Jim Crow
Chapter 8: Forward Steps

Part IV: Mixed Marriages

Chapter 9: Repealing the Law
Chapter 10: Breaking a Barrier

Part V: Hitting the Wall

Chapter 11: Fugitives
Chapter 12: Inching Ahead
Chapter 13: The Wall

Part VI: Epilogue

Chapter 14: Miles to Go


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Jim Crow North: The Struggle for Equal Rights in Antebellum New England 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I personally have mixed feelings for the book, Jim Crow North: The Struggle for Equal Rights, by Richard Archer. I enjoyed the book for three reasons. One reason I liked it is that it is super information packed. I never ran out of info for my summary and it is very specific with each story and date. The second reason is that there are charts and pictures. I like being able to see the visual difference between African American and white American population in each state or the distribution of marriages in each state. I also like being able to have a visual of a lot of the famous, specific people in each chapter. My third reason for liking the book is that it has a lot of information on before, during, and after the Civil Rights Movement. I like how the book expresses the issues and concerns of the black Americans that pushed them to fight back. I like how the book provides information for all of the decisions of all those involved and all of their reasons during the movement. Along with all of those good qualities, there are some bad ones. I disliked the book for three reasons as well. One reason I disliked it is that it is way too specific at times. It gives specific percentages and specific statistics that are not beneficial to me. Another reason I disliked it is because there was no order to the book. It was not in chronological order as much as I hoped. Lastly, I disliked that it goes so in depth with every single story, in short, it does not have to be a lot.