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

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Palgrave Macmillan, Jan 15, 1999 - History - 256 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. 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 collective 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. Comprehensive and engaging, The Roots of African-American Identity is an absorbing account of an often overlooked part of American history.

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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 (1999)

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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