The Negro Citizen in New York City, 1850-1860: A Study of the Free Negro's Status in the North During the Critical Years
Stevens, Richard T.
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This study deals with some of the manifestations of this sociological transition, or the initial impact the sudden presence of a man liberated from forced servitude and of another race--had upon free white society. The story related is that of the free negro living in New York City during the 1850's. The accumulated facts describe the negro's situation in the city during this decade, and have been primarily drawn from accounts in the New York Times of those years. the records of the New York City Board of Education of the ten years, and from the edited works of Frederick Douglass, the principal colored abolitionist leader resident in the city at that time. Therefore, this history records the general attitude towards and the treatment of the negro citizen during the decade of the 1850's. Allotted time and available resources did not permit a more detailed or chronological report, but the purpose of the study is fully realized through the records and editorial comments collected from the aforementioned sources. What these statements and supporting facts illuminate 1s the social attitude and environment the escaping or manumitted slave found upon arriving in the North, the land of promised freedom. How did this situation differ from what he had know as a slave and how did It differ from that of the white, are two questions the research of this paper attempts to clarify. The story of the free negro in society before the Emancipation Proclamation is crucia1 to understanding the story of the negro's history since the Civil War. And because, as Frederick Douglass pointed out, the black man finding his way North 1nvariably chose the large urban center as his place of habitat. The following examination of the status of the negro citizen in New York City from 1850 to 1860. is offered partial explanation for the negro's history following his liberation from bondage.
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