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First Fruits of FreedomThe Migration of Former Slaves and Their Search for Equality in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1862-1900$
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Janette Thomas Greenwood

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833629

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807895788_greenwood

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A Community Within a Community

A Community Within a Community

(p.130) Chapter 5 A Community Within a Community
First Fruits of Freedom

Janette Thomas Greenwood

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses the new political activism that southern black migrants implemented in the community institutions they built, in the community celebrations they inspired, and in the narratives they wrote. Southern migrants and their children shaped the city's black community into a “southern village.” The chapter points to historical memory as a vehicle in providing the foundation for building a black southern community in Worcester. It explains that in engaging in these activities, former slaves embraced what historian David W. Blight termed “African American patriotic memory,” part of an “emancipationist vision” of the Civil War. The chapter opines that the memory of slavery and Civil War bonded Worcester's southern migrant community, providing a common identity as well as inspiration and strength to continue to fight for justice.

Keywords:   political activism, community, celebrations, narratives, southern village, Worcester, slaves, Civil War

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