The Roots of African-American Identity: Memory and History in Antebellum Free Communities

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Palgrave Macmillan, Aug 15, 1997 - History - 242 pages
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Spanning the eight decades between the American Revolution and the Civil War, The Roots of African-American Identity focuses on the lives of African Americans in the nominally free northern and western states. Examining race and the construction of a politicized racial identity, this book explores how a group of marginalized people crafted a uniquely New World ethnic identity that informed popular African-American historical consciousness. Elizabeth Rauh Bethel examines the way in which that consciousness fueled colletive efforts to claim and live a promised but undelivered democratic freedom, helping readers to understand how African Americans reformulated and perceived their collective past. Bethel also reveals how this vision of freedom and historical consciousness shaped African-American participation in the Reconstruction, formed the spiritual and ideological foundation for the modern Pan-African movement, and provided the historical legacy for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

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The roots of African-American identity: memory and history in free antebellum communities

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In this exquisite investigation of continuity and discontinuity in the past as experienced and remembered, Bethel (sociology, Lander Univ., South Carolina) explores how blacks in the North from 1775 ... Read full review

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About the author (1997)

Elizabeth Rauh Bethel is Professor of Sociology at Lander University and author of "Promised Land: A Century of Life in a Negro Community" and "AIDS: Readings on a Global Crisis."

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