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Facing Freedom

An African American Community in Virginia from Reconstruction to Jim Crow
Daniel B. Thorp


BUY Cloth · 304 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813940731 · $39.50 · Dec 2017
BUY Ebook · 304 pp. · ISBN 9780813940748 · $39.50 · Dec 2017

The history of African Americans in southern Appalachia after the Civil War has largely escaped the attention of scholars of both African Americans and the region. In Facing Freedom, Daniel Thorp relates the complex experience of an African American community in southern Appalachia as it negotiated a radically new world in the four decades following the Civil War. Drawing on extensive research in private collections as well as local, state, and federal records, Thorp narrates in intimate detail the experiences of black Appalachians as they struggled to establish autonomous families, improve their economic standing, operate black schools within a white-controlled school system, form independent black churches, and exercise expanded—if contested—roles as citizens and members of the body politic. Black out-migration increased markedly near the close of the nineteenth century, but the generation that transitioned from slavery to freedom in Montgomery County established the community institutions that would survive disenfranchisement and Jim Crow. Facing Freedom reveals the stories and strategies of those who pioneered these resilient bulwarks against the rising tide of racism.

Reviews:


"A careful and clear account of important dimensions of Reconstruction and its aftermath in Montgomery County. Facing Freedom provides glimpses of the complex ways freed people inhabited, defined, and shaped freedom."

Catherine Jones, University of California Santa Cruz, author of Intimate Reconstructions: Children in Postemancipation Virginia

About the Author: 

Daniel B. Thorp is Associate Professor of History and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech.

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