Slavery and Abolition in Pennsylvania

Beverly C. Tomek
Book Cover

PB: $19.95
EAN: 978-1-932304-35-0
Publication: Oct 21

Ebook: $19.95
EAN: 978-1-932304-83-1
Publication: Oct 21

144 pages
6 x 9
14 figs.

Highlighting the complexities of emancipation and the “First Reconstruction” in the antebellum North

Read the Introduction (pdf).

Description

In her concise history Slavery and Abolition in Pennsylvania, Beverly Tomek corrects the long-held notion that slavery in the North was “not so bad” as, or somehow “more humane” than, in the South due to the presence of abolitionists. While the Quaker presence focused on moral and practical opposition to bondage, slavery was ubiquitous. Nevertheless, Pennsylvania was the first state to pass an abolition law in the United States.

Slavery and Abolition in Pennsylvania traces this movement from its beginning to the years immediately following the American Civil War. Discussions of the complexities of the state’s antislavery movement illustrate how different groups of Pennsylvanians followed different paths in an effort to achieve their goal. Tomek also examines the backlash abolitionists and Black Americans faced. In addition, she considers the civil rights movement from the period of state reconstruction through the national reconstruction that occurred after the Civil War.

While the past few decades have shed light on enslavement and slavery in the South, much of the story of northern slavery remains hidden. Slavery and Abolition in Pennsylvania tells the full and inclusive story of this history, bringing the realities of slavery, abolition, and Pennsylvania's attempt to reconstruct its post-emancipation society.

Published in association with the Pennsylvania Historical Association

Reviews

“Tomek’s tour de force synthesis of the latest scholarship on slavery and abolition in Pennsylvania reveals the complex nature of slavery in the North and its complicated unraveling in the aftermath of the American Revolution. She exposes the full implications of slavery’s slow death while providing students of Pennsylvania’s past with an engrossing look at the links between the first and second abolition movements and the pivotal role the free black community played in crafting nineteenth-century Pennsylvania.” James Gigantino, Professor of History at the University of Arkansas, and author of The Ragged Road to Abolition: Slavery and Freedom in New Jersey, 1775–1865

“Beverly C. Tomek provides us with an important and impressive entry about slavery and abolition in Pennsylvania. Her work is a counternarrative to persistent revisionist efforts to cast the Commonwealth’s approach to slavery as superior to or more humane than that of the other colonies. Of significance is how Tomek gives voice to the voiceless by sharing the horrors experienced by enslaved black women in pre–Civil War Pennsylvania as supported by remarkable archival imagery. This book is an essential read for those interested in a critical examination of the historical through lines of Pennsylvania’s early abolition efforts, the impacts of immediatism, and attempts at reconstruction.” Alexia Hudson-Ward, Associate Director of Research and Learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries

Table of Contents

Editor’s Foreword, by Allen Dieterich-Ward
Acknowledgments Introduction
1. Slavery in the Quaker State
2. Life in Bondage
3. Pennsylvania’s Early Abolition Movement
4. Abolition beyond the Quakers
5. The First Reconstruction
6. Abolition beyond Pennsylvania
7. The Rise of Immediatism
8. The Civil War and a Second Reconstruction
Epilogue

Notes
Index

About the Author(s)

Beverly C. Tomek is Associate Professor of History and Associate Provost for Curriculum and Student Achievement at the University of Houston-Victoria. She is the author of Colonization and Its Discontents: Emancipation, Emigration, and Antislavery in Antebellum Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Hall: A “Legal Lynching” in the Shadow of the Liberty Bell, as well as the coeditor of New Directions in the Study of African American Recolonization.


Subjects

In the Series

  • Pennsylvania History edited by Allen Dieterich-Ward and David Witwer

    The Pennsylvania History series, edited by Allen Dieterich-Ward and David Witwer, designed to make high-quality scholarship accessible for students, advances the mission of the Pennsylvania Historical Association by engaging with key social, political, and cultural issues in the history of the state and region.