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Fannie Barrier WilliamsCrossing the Borders of Region and Race$
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Wanda A. Hendricks

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038112

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038112.001.0001

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North of Slavery

North of Slavery


(p.9) 1. North of Slavery
Fannie Barrier Williams

Wanda A. Hendricks

University of Illinois Press

This chapter focuses on Fannie Barrier Williams' early life. Fannie Barrier was born on February 12, 1855, to mixed-race parents, in Brockport, an overwhelmingly white community in New York. Brockport was north of slavery, and according to census records, no resident of the town had ever owned enslaved people. The village was a secure and supportive place for Barrier, with no racially divided public spaces. This chapter first provides a background on Brockport and Fannie's parents, Harriet Prince Barrier and Anthony J. Barrier, as well as her early education, including her enrollment at the Brockport Collegiate Institute. It considers how the school provided Fannie with the necessary skills to pursue the personal, public, and professional life that was not available to her mother's generation. It also examines how the northern location of Brockport and the convergence of several social, political, and economic factors sheltered Fannie and her siblings and greatly restricted the negative impact of racism and discrimination on their lives.

Keywords:   education, Fannie Barrier Williams, Brockport, New York, slavery, Harriet Prince Barrier, Anthony J. Barrier, Brockport Collegiate Institute, racism, discrimination

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