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On the Edge of FreedomThe Fugitive Slave Issue in South Central Pennsylvania, 1820–1870$
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David G. Smith

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823240326

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823240326.001.0001

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After the Shooting

After the Shooting

Chapter:
(p.199) 9 After the Shooting
Source:
On the Edge of Freedom
Author(s):

David G. Smith

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823240326.003.0010

With a legacy of strong support for fugitive slaves, at least by a committed minority, why was south central Pennsylvania not more welcoming toward African Americans after the Civil War? Factors include the disruption of the African American community, the departure of many antislavery activists and the death of others, and the persistence of social conservatism in some areas. A near lynching occurred in Franklin County in 1869. In just a few years, Democratic parades were parodying African Americans and the Freedmen's Bureau, and by 1920, large Ku Klux Klan rallies near Gettysburg. Local literature changed from supporting African Americans and the Underground Railroad to treating them as local color to an early 20th century book that denounced the Underground Railroad as lawlessness. Discrimination against African Americans persisted into the 1970s – the area's African American community lived “on the edge of freedom” for a century after the Civil War.

Keywords:   Thaddeus Stevens, Freedmen's Bureau, Franklin County, African American, Ku Klux Klan, death, aging

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