To Live an Antislavery Life: Personal Politics and the Antebellum Black Middle Class by Erica BallTo Live an Antislavery Life: Personal Politics and the Antebellum Black Middle Class by Erica Ball

To Live an Antislavery Life: Personal Politics and the Antebellum Black Middle Class

byErica Ball

Paperback | November 1, 2012

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In this study of antebellum African American print culture in transnational perspective, Erica L. Ball explores the relationship between antislavery discourse and the emergence of the northern black middle class.

Through innovative readings of slave narratives, sermons, fiction, convention proceedings, and the advice literature printed in forums like Freedom's Journal, the North Star, and the Anglo-African Magazine, Ball demonstrates that black figures such as Susan Paul, Frederick Douglass, and Martin Delany consistently urged readers to internalize their political principles and to interpret all their personal ambitions, private familial roles, and domestic responsibilities in light of the freedom struggle. Ultimately, they were admonished to embody the abolitionist agenda by living what the fugitive Samuel Ringgold Ward called an "antislavery life."

Far more than calls for northern free blacks to engage in what scholars call "the politics of respectability," African American writers characterized true antislavery living as an oppositional stance rife with radical possibilities, a deeply personal politics that required free blacks to transform themselves into model husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, self-made men, and transnational freedom fighters in the mold of revolutionary figures from Haiti to Hungary. In the process, Ball argues, antebellum black writers crafted a set of ideals-simultaneously respectable and subversive-for their elite and aspiring African American readers to embrace in the decades before the Civil War.

Published in association with the Library Company of Philadelphia's Program in African American History. A Sarah Mills Hodge Fund Publication.

Erica L. Ball is an assistant professor in the Department of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton.
Title:To Live an Antislavery Life: Personal Politics and the Antebellum Black Middle ClassFormat:PaperbackDimensions:200 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 inPublished:November 1, 2012Publisher:University Of Georgia PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0820343501

ISBN - 13:9780820343501

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

Chapter One
African American Advice Literature and Black Middle- Class Self- Fashioning 10

Chapter Two
Slave Narratives and the Black Self- Made Man 37

Chapter Three
Antislavery Discourse and the African American Family 62

Chapter Four
Domestic Literature and the Antislavery Household 81

Chapter Five
Transnationalism, Revolution, and the Anglo- African Magazine on the Eve of the Civil War 109

Epilogue 132
Notes 137
Index 171

Editorial Reviews

[Ball] delivers an insightful explication of what motivated the antebellum black middle class Erica Ball has produced a strong, innovative, and valuable contribution to the historiography of black activism and the black middle class.

- Scott Hancock - Journal of the Early Republic