Barbara J. Beeching Ph.D.
Hopes and Expectations and What Came After
Early in the nineteenth century, black activists in Hartford created their own community, founding churches, schools, and organizations for betterment. By 1860, their practice of racial uplift, together with occasional help from local white elites, resulted in measurable economic and social improvement, and incidentally created a black middle class. A collection of letters written at the time, throw light on three lives, the family that united them, and the community they looked to as home. By the 1870s, as national attitudes hardened, the individuals, the family, and the community were left with cruelly deferred hopes. What endured was a satisfying and supportive way of life.
Suggested works that might be helpful:
Carla L. Peterson, Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011.
Patrick Rael, Black Identity and Black Protest in the Antebellum North. Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 2002.
Nick Salvatore, We All Got History: The Memory Books of Amos Webber. New York: Random House, 1996.
Stephanie J. Shaw, What a Woman Ought to Be and to Do: Black Professional Women Workers During the Jim Crow Era. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.