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Black Freedom Movements in American History

Some resources to help understand protest and activism for Black freedom in American history

The popular history of the end of slavery has often told a false narrative of white Americans as the saviors of enslaved Black people. It has focused on battles of the Civil War and the white generals in charge of the armies, Abraham Lincoln and (a misreading of) the Emancipation Proclamation, and northern abolitionists (including some Black Americans, of course, like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass). This popular story diminishes the central thread of white supremacy that weaves its way throughout American history. Historians have undermined this popular narrative in countless ways, demonstrating the hard struggle of many Black Americans to survive slavery or be massacred by it, to free themselves from slavery, and to undermine slavery.

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