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After SlaveryRace, Labor, and Citizenship in the Reconstruction South$
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Bruce E. Baker and Brian Kelly

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044774

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044774.001.0001

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Mapping Freedom's Terrain

Mapping Freedom's Terrain

The Political and Productive Landscapes of Wilmington, North Carolina

(p.176) 9 Mapping Freedom's Terrain
After Slavery

Susan Eva O'Donovan

University Press of Florida

After Reconstruction, white conservatives in Wilmington, North Carolina, did not regain complete political control until the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898. This essay explains why African Americans in Wilmington were able to establish such robust communities and protect their political rights. Using the records of the Freedmen's Savings Bank, the author argues that most freedpeople in Wilmington had deep links to the city and the region, which allowed them to develop stronger networks of support than in places where slavery was more in flux. Since African American workers were critical to the operation of the port, they occupied a prominent place in public space rather than being restricted to limited parts of the city, which opened up political opportunities.

Keywords:   Wilmington, North Carolina, Wilmington Riot, Freedmen's Savings Bank, urban geography, families, gender, black politics, freedpeople, mobility

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