Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence


Product Details

University of Pennsylvania Press
Publish Date
March 22, 2019
6.3 X 9.1 X 1.1 inches | 1.15 pounds

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About the Author

Kellie Carter Jackson is the Knafel Assistant Professor of the Humanities at Wellesley College. She is coeditor of Reconsidering Roots: Race, Politics, and Memory.


"Kellie Carter Jackson reveals that revolutionary violence was a valuable weapon in the abolitionist arsenal, especially among African Americans. Black abolitionists, this book documents eloquently, were waging a war against slavery long before the booming of guns during the Civil War."--Manisha Sinha, author of The Slave's Cause: A History of Abolition

"In this original and important contribution to the history of abolitionism, Kellie Carter Jackson draws on newspapers, pamphlets, speeches, and convention proceedings to trace how black abolitionists abandoned Garrisonian 'moral suasion' and increasingly called for violent resistance to slavery. As she demonstrates, violence was both a political language and a concrete strategy, a means of galvanizing support in the North, drawing attention to the violence inherent in slavery, preventing the rendition of fugitive slaves, and paying tribute to the revolution that had overthrown the slave system in Haiti."--Eric Foner, author of Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad

"With engaging new sources and a deft reading of familiar narratives, Kellie Carter Jackson reminds us that black resistance was always central to abolition. Force and Freedom centers the role of violence in the long road to black freedom, rendering a more complicated image of black abolitionists who were willing to abandon the petition for the gun. A most important contribution to the study of American abolition."--Erica Armstrong Dunbar, author of Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge