Festivals of Freedom: Memory and Meaning in African American Emancipation Celebrations, 1808-1915

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Univ of Massachusetts Press, 2003 - History - 339 pages
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With the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade in 1808, many African Americans began calling for a day of publick thanksgiving to commemorate this important step toward freedom. During the ensuing century, black leaders built on this foundation and constructed a distinctive and vibrant tradition through their celebrations of the end of slavery in New York State, the British West Indies, and eventually the United States as a whole, In this revealing study, Mitch Kachun explores the multiple functions and contested meanings surrounding African American emancipation celebrations from the abolition of the slave trade to the fiftieth anniversary of U.S. emancipation. Excluded from July Fourth and other American nationalist rituals for most of this period, black activists used these festivals of freedom to encourage community building and race uplift. Kachun demonstrates that, even as these annual rituals helped define African Americans as a people by fostering a sense of shared history, heritage, and identity, they were also sites of ambiguity and conflict. Freedom celebrations served as occasions for debate over black representations in the public sphere, struggles for group lea

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A day of publick thanksgiving Foundations 18081834
A borrowed day of Jubilee Maturation 18341862
An American celebration Expansion and Fragmentation 18621870s
Let childrens children never forget Remembrance and Amnesia 1870s1910s
Lessons of Emancipation for a New Generation Reorientation 1860s1900s
A great occasion for display Contestation in Washingtin DC 1860s1900s
The faith that the dark past has taught us Dissolution 19001920

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Page 22 - The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore.
Page 1 - It cannot be inherited, and if you want it you must obtain it by great labour.

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