Make a Way Somehow: African-American Life in a Northern Community, 1790-1965

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Syracuse University Press, Jan 1, 1995 - History - 336 pages
In a groundbreaking book, Kathryn Grover reconstructs from their own writings the lives of African Americans in Geneva, New York, virtually from its beginning in the 1790s, to the time of the community's first civil rights march in 1965. She weaves together demographic evidence and narratives by black Americans to recount their lives within a white-controlled society. Make a Way Somehow, which reflects the tenor of the gospel song whence it came, is a complete and meaningful history of black Genevans, with a moving focus on the individual experience. The author traces five principal migrations of African Americans to northern cities: the forced migration of slaves from the East and South before 1820; the antebellum fugitive slave farm-to-town movement; the postwar migration of emancipated people; the so-called Great Migration between the two World Wars; and the last movement that began around 1938 and ended in 1960, which was precipitated by the need for workers in large-scale, commercial agriculture and the war-mobilization effort. Grover pieces together the lives of generations of African Americans in Geneva and delineates the local system of race relations from the city's social and economic standpoint. Black Genevans were kept at the fringes of society and worked in jobs that were temporary and scarce. While antislavery and suffrage work was common, it represented but a small portion of reform in towns whose broader sentiments opposed racial equality. In a work that spans more than a hundred years, the author establishes a context for understanding both the persistence of a small group of blacks and the transience of a great many others.
 

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Make a way somehow: African-American life in a northern community, 1790-1965

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Grover, an independent scholar in American history, has written a meticulously researched and fascinating examination of almost 200 years of African American life in Geneva, New York, a small Northern ... Read full review

Contents

Workers registering and taking quarters at Sampson
46
Norman Kenney Charles Moore Paula Moore
56
Hermine and Marie Whitaker about 1914
65
James Johnson Rose New York about 1920
71
Map of West Street house lots 17 May 1823
78
Old Families and New Families
81
Johnson Whitaker and Hackett cousins on the Johnson porch 36 Bradford Street 19071908
84
South Exchange Street before demolition 21 March 1965
86
John Kenney at Geneva Foundry about 1950
159
Union Chapel Colored Interior High St about 1865
168
High Street Union Chapel 18691884
169
Nancy T P Lucas Curlin about 1880
170
South Branch School Madison Street about 1875
186
The church at High and Grove streets about 1915
190
High Street School classroom 26 April 1910
196
Prospect Avenue School secondgrade class 19621963
198

Ruth Sellers and her sons Herbert Albert and Larry at Dixon Homes June 1957
94
Margaret Douglass about 1875
104
Just What They Could Get to
106
Paving Genesee Street Geneva 1898
115
On the front porch about 1900
118
Harriet Bias at age sixteen 1886
119
William Douglass 1875
125
Theodore Derby and Art Kenney 1900
135
Mary Georgetta Cleggett Kenney 19111913
136
Mary Kenneys chiropodist and hairdressing parlor about 1920
137
Lewis Scott shining shoes on South Exchange Street 19091913
138
Charles Gates at Dorchester and Rose hardware store 18981900
139
Inclusion and Exclusion
158
Girls junior choir Trinity Episcopal Church 1952
208
Mount Calvary Church choir about 1953
209
Accommodation and Action
214
Grand Celebration of Emancipation at Geneva N Y 1879
228
Broadside for St Philips Mission exhibition 11 April 1877
236
159
298
168
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208
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315
44
316
228
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