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Forceful demands: Black abolitionists and the language of violence.


The institution of slavery is created in violence, it is sustained in violence - and so the logical next step is that it would be overthrown in violence. Black leaders gave their White counterparts an opportunity to do it their way, nonviolently, because they were happy to have the ally-ship. But as the decades go on, they began to see how moral suasion was really ineffective in bringing about change.

Historian Kellie Carter Jackson explores the use of violence by Black abolitionists in the antebellum US - as a strategy of survival and solidarity between Black people, a forceful language in contrast to the half-measures of non-violent White abolitionists, and a model for oppressed people to win freedom from a system that denies their basic humanity.

Kellie is author of the book Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence from University of Pennsylvana Press.

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Kellie Carter Jackson

Kellie Carter Jackson is a 19th century historian in the Department of Africana Studies at Wellesley College.


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