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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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Faith and Fraternity

Faith and Fraternity

(p.145) Chapter 8 Faith and Fraternity
Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad

Cheryl Janifer LaRoche

University of Illinois Press

This chapter focuses on pre-Civil War national political and fraternal organizations that operated through Black community leaders. It examines how the various African American organizations that fed into the Underground Railroad network, the Black churches, conferences, fraternal societies, and conventions, functioned as the public, often urban, action arm of the Underground Railroad. Black organizations and fraternal societies fostered interracial cooperation by holding convention meetings and other gatherings where participants representing Black churches or the Prince Hall Order of Free and Accepted Masons routinely interacted with Underground Railroad operatives. This chapter also shows that slaveholders and politicians, responding to demands by people of color to be released from slavery and its concomitant evils, enacted a series of fugitive slave laws that increasingly fueled the fires of rebellion and war. The Civil War ended a long strategic continuum among abolitionists and antislavery workers.

Keywords:   abolitionists, Underground Railroad, Black churches, fraternal societies, interracial cooperation, Prince Hall Order of Free and Accepted Masons, slavery, fugitive slave laws, rebellion, Civil War

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