The racial climate of the Border North was mixed. Blacks were borderline social outcasts, frozen out of the mainstream by poverty and racism. But white progressives offered support, including assistance with the Underground Railroad and support for abolition, and interracial worship was gracefully accepted, if not widely practiced. Also, unlike very nearby Maryland, blacks controlled their own religious life. Problems continually threatened black religion; black congregants were poor, undereducated, and burdened by racism. But African Americans in Gettysburg controlled their little African Methodist Episcopal Zion congregation with minimal assistance and no oversight from whites, and the fellowship survived, no small victory. Black religion, independent but barely, was especially characteristic of the Border North and would soon be the national pattern on race for a long time.
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