Cover for Salvatore: We All Got History: The Memory Books of Amos Webber. Click for larger image

We All Got History

The Memory Books of Amos Webber

An amazingly rich window onto a lost world of African American history

Lost for over a hundred years until their rediscovery by Nick Salvatore, Amos Webber’s “Thermometer Books” recorded six decades of the daily experiences of a black freeman in nineteenth-century Philadelphia and Worcester, Massachusetts. These diaries form the basis for Salvatore’s vital portrait of an everyday hero who struggled unrelentingly for his people in a land that still considered blacks to be less than human.

In We All Got History, we see Amos Webber working as a janitor; rescuing fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad; marching triumphantly into Richmond with the Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry; and active in the religious and fraternal organizations that became the cement of the African American community. What emerges from this moving history is not only a picture of Webber the man, but also of the vibrant African American culture that nurtured him.

"A fascinating chronicle. . . . It warms the heart and soothes the soul of people thirsting for a broader sense of identity."--Philadelphia Inquirer

Nick Salvatore is the Maurice and Hinda Neufeld Founders Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and a professor of American studies at Cornell University. He is the author of Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist and Singing in a Strange Land: C. L. Franklin, the Black Church, and the Transformation of America. For more, visit

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