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Free Black Communities and the Underground RailroadThe Geography of Resistance$
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Cheryl Janifer LaRoche

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038044

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038044.001.0001

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Rethinking African American Migration

Rethinking African American Migration

(p.103) Chapter 6 Rethinking African American Migration
Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad

Cheryl Janifer LaRoche

University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores the relationship between migration, displacement, and the Underground Railroad movement. More specifically, it considers the processes of community building and the causes of migration that led Blacks to live where they did and to flee when they had to. It shows how migration became a means of escape from slavery, first by discussing maroon settlements that functioned as the African diaspora's first communities for free Blacks and began the progression to the Underground Railroad. It then explains how Black community formation and the Underground Railroad shifted between constant migration and displacement that began with the Middle Passage, and how emigration and colonization schemes of the pre-Civil War abolitionist era influenced displacement and migration patterns. This analysis looks at African American migration from a new perspective by sifting through the range of ways in which people of color entered into and interacted with their surroundings. It suggests that migration, both voluntary and forced, courses through the Black experience.

Keywords:   migration, displacement, Underground Railroad, slavery, maroon settlements, free Blacks, community building, Middle Passage, emigration, colonization

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