Cover for PHILLIPS: Freedom's Port: The African American Community of Baltimore, 1790-1860

Freedom's Port

The African American Community of Baltimore, 1790-1860
Awards and Recognition:

Co-winner of the Maryland Historical Society Book Award, 1997.

Baltimore's African-American population--nearly 27,000 strong and more than 90 percent free in 1860--was the largest in the nation at that time. Christopher Phillips's Freedom's Port, the first book-length study of an urban black population in the antebellum Upper South, chronicles the growth and development of that community.

He shows how it grew from a transient aggregate of individuals, many fresh from slavery, to a strong, overwhelmingly free community less wracked by class and intraracial divisions than were other cities. Almost from the start, Phillips states, Baltimore's African Americans forged their own freedom and actively defended it--in a state that maintained slavery and whose white leadership came to resent the liberties the city's black people had achieved.

"A deeply researched, comprehensive account of Baltimore's African American community, the community that helped shape the young Frederick Douglass and that became the nation's largest by the eve of the Civil War. An illuminating contribution to historical knowledge of the urban context of slavery and freedom."--Michael P. Johnson, coeditor of No Chariot Let Down: Charleston's Free People of Color on the Eve of the Civil War

Christopher Phillips, an assistant professor of history at Emporia State University, Kansas, and visiting assistant professor (1996-97) at John Carroll University, Cleveland, Ohio, is the author of Damned Yankee: The Life of General Nathaniel Lyon.

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