In The Shadow Of Slavery: African Americans In New York City, 1626-1863

Paperback | October 1, 2004

byLeslie M. Harris

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"The black experience in the antebellum South has been thoroughly documented. But histories set in the North are few. In the Shadow of Slavery, then, is a big and ambitious book, one in which insights about race and class in New York City abound. Leslie Harris has masterfully brought more than two centuries of African American history back to life in this illuminating new work."—David Roediger, author of The Wages of Whiteness

In 1991 in lower Manhattan, a team of construction workers made an astonishing discovery. Just two blocks from City Hall, under twenty feet of asphalt, concrete, and rubble, lay the remains of an eighteenth-century "Negro Burial Ground." Closed in 1790 and covered over by roads and buildings throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the site turned out to be the largest such find in North America, containing the remains of as many as 20,000 African Americans. The graves revealed to New Yorkers and the nation an aspect of American history long hidden: the vast number of enslaved blacks who labored to create our nation's largest city.

In the Shadow of Slavery lays bare this history of African Americans in New York City, starting with the arrival of the first slaves in 1626, moving through the turbulent years before emancipation in 1827, and culminating in one of the most terrifying displays of racism in U.S. history, the New York City Draft Riots of 1863. Drawing on extensive travel accounts, autobiographies, newspapers, literature, and organizational records, Leslie M. Harris extends beyond prior studies of racial discrimination by tracing the undeniable impact of African Americans on class, politics, and community formation and by offering vivid portraits of the lives and aspirations of countless black New Yorkers.

Written with clarity and grace, In the Shadow of Slavery is an ambitious new work that will prove indispensable to historians of the African American experience, as well as anyone interested in the history of New York City.

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"The black experience in the antebellum South has been thoroughly documented. But histories set in the North are few. In the Shadow of Slavery, then, is a big and ambitious book, one in which insights about race and class in New York City abound. Leslie Harris has masterfully brought more than two centuries of African American history ...

From the Jacket

In 1991 in lower Manhattan, a team of construction workers made an astonishing discovery. Just two blocks from City Hall, under twenty feet of asphalt, concrete, and rubble, lay the remains of an eighteenth-century "Negro Burial Ground." Closed in 1790 and covered over by roads and buildings throughout the nineteenth and twentieth cent...

Leslie M. Harris is an associate professor of history at Emory University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:387 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:October 1, 2004Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226317730

ISBN - 13:9780226317731

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1: Slavery in Colonial New York
Chapter 2: The Struggle against Slavery in Revolutionary and Early National New York
Chapter 3: Creating a Free Black Community in New York City during the Era of Emancipation
Chapter 4: Free but Unequal: The Limits of Emancipation
Chapter 5: Keeping Body and Soul Together: Charity Workers and Black Activism in Post-emancipation New York City
Chapter 6: The Long Shadow of Southern Slavery: Radical Abolitionists and Black Political Activism against Slavery and Racism
Chapter 7: "Pressing Forward to Greater Perfection": Radical Abolitionists, Black Labor, and Black Working-Class Activism after 1840
Chapter 8: "Rulers of the Five Points": Blacks, Irish Immigrants, and Amalgamation
Chapter 9: The Failures of the City
Postscript
Notes
Works Consulted
Index