'Harboring negroes' : race, religion, and politics in North Carolina and Indiana /

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Hackett, Brian
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Middle Tennessee State University
The purpose of this dissertation is to challenge currently accepted ideas about free blacks in the north in the last few decades before the Civil War, focusing on the plight of a group of African Americans from North Carolina and their white, largely Quaker, supporters. The road to freedom for freepeople in the North was a dynamic and multilayered process, in this case involving the interaction of free blacks and Quakers from North Carolina, newly freed enslaved people from Alabama, and white communities in Indiana.
The primary focus of this work is a group of free and enslaved African Americans and their Quaker supporters that found themselves involved in a court case in Indiana. The principle question explored is how this event illustrates a broader perspective of the role of blacks in a "free" society in the few decades before the Civil War. Also examined is how influences outside the state would come to shape actions within the state, and how these events would affect the future. Lastly, it is a goal to see that at least part of the story of the freemen who suffered great hardship in making a place for themselves in Indiana and elsewhere is told, giving them the agency they deserve.