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Convergence of networks to freedom : African-American participation on the Underground Railroad in Kennett, Pennsylvania

Author: Megan C Del Mar
Publisher: Ann Arbor, Michigan : ProQuest LLC, 2016.
Dissertation: M.A. George Washington University 2016
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : English
Summary:
The town of Kennett, Pennsylvania has long been acknowledged as a center for Underground Railroad activities. However, historians have almost exclusively focused on the efforts of the white Quaker residents and minimized or excluded the crucial work of African-American agents. Thus, Underground Railroad activities in Kennett have been presented as Quaker-dominated and highly organized. This paper investigates the  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Academic theses
History
Named Person: Harriet Hood, (Abolitionist); Levi Hood, (Abolitionist); James Walker, (Abolitionist); Nelson Wiggins, (Abolitionist)
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Megan C Del Mar
ISBN: 9781339449432 1339449439
OCLC Number: 1043762589
Notes: Print reproduction of original dissertation.
Proquest number 10007623.
Advisor: Tyler Anbinder.
Description: iii, 53 pages ; 22 cm
Responsibility: by Megan C. Del Mar.

Abstract:

The town of Kennett, Pennsylvania has long been acknowledged as a center for Underground Railroad activities. However, historians have almost exclusively focused on the efforts of the white Quaker residents and minimized or excluded the crucial work of African-American agents. Thus, Underground Railroad activities in Kennett have been presented as Quaker-dominated and highly organized. This paper investigates the work of several African-American Underground Railroad agents who assisted fugitives in their search for liberty. These individuals' stories not only show the active participation of African Americans on the Underground Railroad, but they illuminate the complex workings of the Underground Railroad in Kennett. Numerous strands of the Underground Railroad operated simultaneously in the same locality. These different forms of Underground Railroad work were not discrete categories nor did they exist in a vacuum; numerous individuals or institutions worked with various threads of the Underground Railroad and impacted different elements of its operation. Kennett, Pennsylvania represents an area where multiple networks of the Underground Railroad intersected The stories of individuals like Harriet and Levi Hood, James Walker and Nelson Wiggins illustrates how African-American Underground Railroad agents were enmeshed in both the Quaker abolitionist networks and distinct African-American networks comprised of individuals, churches and communities. These networks occasionally converged but often ran parallel with little interaction between the participants. The evidence also indicates that aid to fugitives could also be rendered on an ad-hoc basis with people outside of these networks. Yet all were crucial components of the Underground Railroad. Far from being a Quaker-dominated institution, the Underground Railroad in Kennett, Pennsylvania was a myriad of networks in which African-Americans were entrenched and played a critical, but often forgotten, role to its success.

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