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Colored Travelers: Mobility And The Fight For Citizenship Before The Civil War

Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor

8 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1469628570 / ISBN 13: 9781469628578
Published by The University of North Carolina Press
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Colored Travelers: Mobility And The Fight ...

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press

Binding: Hardback

Book Condition: New

About this title


Americans have long regarded the freedom of travel a central tenet ofcitizenship. Yet, in the United States, freedom of movement has historicallybeen a right reserved for whites. In this book, Elizabeth Stordeur Pryorshows that African Americans fought obstructions to their mobility over100 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomerybus. These were "colored travelers," activists who relied on steamships,stagecoaches, and railroads to expand their networks and to fight slaveryand racism. They refused to ride in "Jim Crow" railroad cars, fought for theright to hold a U.S. passport (and citizenship), and during their transatlanticvoyages, demonstrated their radical abolitionism. By focusing on the myriadstrategies of black protest, including the assertions of gendered freedom andcitizenship, this book tells the story of how the basic act of traveling emergedas a front line in the battle for African American equal rights before the CivilWar.Drawing on exhaustive research from U.S. and British newspapers, journals,narratives, and letters, as well as firsthand accounts of such figures asFrederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, and William Wells Brown, Pryor illustrateshow, in the quest for citizenship, colored travelers constructed ideasabout respectability and challenged racist ideologies that made black mobilitya crime.


Proves once again that there is absolutely no break in American history from before America's founding to the present day when it comes to Civil War and Civil Rights.--Salvatore Cilella, Civil War News

The book's strength is its comprehension of the civic component of these prolonged public travails. Highly recommended.--Choice

[A] seminal work. . . . An original contribution to historiography of the 19th century, this work will engage everyone from legal scholars to general readers, and is especially recommended to those interested in the antebellum era and African American history.--Library Journal, Starred Review

Contains an unprecedentedly rich trove of evidence about black people's experiences and understandings of travel before the Civil War.--New England Quarterly

Offers meaningful insights and an original analysis regarding the precariousness of black movement--a topic relevant to Americans in the twenty-first century.--Journal of Southern History

Although there have been plenty of books and articles that have come out in the last ten years on racial segregation and public transportation as well as black activism in the antebellum North, at this moment there is nothing as original or thought provoking as Colored Travelers.--Griot

Pryor analyzes the experiences of free black people living in the antebellum North who had the resources to travel, and who protested against discrimination on public conveyances.--Journal of North Carolina Association of Historians

Would be a welcome addition for students, scholars and readers of transport history.--The Journal of Transport History

Pryor argues persuasively that the abusive and discriminatory treatment meted out to African Americans in the "free" North was more about subordination than it was about blackness.--The Journal of American History

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