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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, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 28 July 2021

Freedom Interrupted

Freedom Interrupted

Runaway Slaves and Insecure Borders in the Mexican Northeast

(p.251) 10 Freedom Interrupted
Fugitive Slaves and Spaces of Freedom in North America

James David Nichols

University Press of Florida

Scholars have long suggested that nineteenth-century runaway slaves turned the U.S.-Mexico border into a line of freedom. However, as this chapter argues, such an interpretation of the border is somewhat problematic. A closer examination of the history of northern Tamaulipas explains why. From 1820 onward, African Americans began to arrive to that region in search of freedom and a changed racial milieu, but this process was deeply fraught. U.S. American jurisprudence could continue to affect Mexican space formally and informally from the outside, greatly troubling Mexican sovereignty and its foreign relations in the process. Hence, the freedom found by African Americans in Mexico—guaranteed by Mexican law—was never particularly secure in practice. This chapter builds upon the previous chapter and provides an in-depth analysis of a specific case study of fugitive slaves’ struggles for freedom in the Texas-Mexico borderlands.

Keywords:   Tamaulipas, Texas-Mexico borderlands, U.S.-Mexico border, runaway slaves

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