The Geography of Resistance

Painting of slave familyThe Geography of Resistance: Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad, by Cheryl LaRoche

In this enlightening study, Cheryl Janifer LaRoche employs the tools of archaeology to uncover a new historical perspective on the Underground Railroad. Unlike previous histories of the Underground Railroad, which have focused on frightened fugitive slaves and their benevolent abolitionist accomplices, LaRoche focuses instead on free African American communities, the crucial help they provided to individuals fleeing slavery, and the terrain where those flights to freedom occurred. This study foregrounds several small, rural hamlets on the treacherous southern edge of the free North: the African American settlements of Rocky Fork and Miller Grove, Illinois; Lick Creek, Indiana; and Poke Patch, Ohio. LaRoche demonstrates how landscape features such as waterways, iron forges, and caves played a key role in the conduct and effectiveness of the Underground Railroad.

Exploring the religious and fraternal institutions at the heart of these free African American communities, LaRoche demonstrates how the AME and Baptist churches and Prince Hall Masons, in addition to Quakers, provided both physical and social structures that fostered escape from slavery. Rich in oral histories, maps, memoirs, and archaeological investigations, this examination of the "geography of resistance" tells the new, powerful, and inspiring story of African Americans ensuring their own liberation in the midst of oppression. (from the publisher)

Call # E 450 .L37 2014