Most studies of emancipation's consequences have focused on the
South. Moving the discussion to the North, Leslie Schwalm enriches
our understanding of the national impact of the transition from
slavery to freedom. Emancipation's Diaspora
lives and experiences of thousands of men and women who liberated
themselves from slavery, made their way to overwhelmingly white
communities in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and worked to live
in dignity as free women and men and as citizens.
Schwalm explores the hotly contested politics of black
enfranchisement as well as collisions over segregation, civil
rights, and the more informal politics of race--including how
slavery and emancipation would be remembered and commemorated. She
examines how gender shaped the politics of race, and how gender
relations were contested and negotiated within the black community.
Based on extensive archival research, Emancipation's
shows how in churches and schools, in voting booths
and Masonic temples, in bustling cities and rural crossroads, black
and white Midwesterners--women and men--shaped the local and
national consequences of emancipation.