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Fugitive Slaves and Spaces of Freedom in North America$
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Damian Alan Pargas

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813056036

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813056036.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 18 August 2019

Black Self-Emancipation, Gradual Emancipation, and the Underground Railroad in the Northern Colonies and States, 1763–1804

Black Self-Emancipation, Gradual Emancipation, and the Underground Railroad in the Northern Colonies and States, 1763–1804

Chapter:
(p.21) 1 Black Self-Emancipation, Gradual Emancipation, and the Underground Railroad in the Northern Colonies and States, 1763–1804
Source:
Fugitive Slaves and Spaces of Freedom in North America
Author(s):

Graham Russell Gao Hodges

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813056036.003.0002

This chapter explores the extent, meaning, and impact of enslaved African-American flight during the era of the American Revolution. Its temporal boundaries range roughly from 1763, the onset of Revolutionary activities and discourses, to state-level “First Emancipation,” to the last act of Gradual Emancipation in New Jersey in 1804. Geographically, the article covers the Atlantic seaboard colonies and later states. The chapter argues that black self-emancipation via flight—including individual actions but also the mass movements of the Revolutionary Black Loyalists—was the single greatest method for enslaved people to gain freedom in this rapidly changing political landscape. Slave flight indeed had a profound impact on that landscape and affected American construction of slave laws during the Revolutionary Era.

Keywords:   American Revolution, First Emancipation, Black Loyalists, slave laws, self-emancipation

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