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[History] Jim Crow New York: A Documentary History

Jim Crow New York: A Documentary History of Race and Citizenship, 1777-1877
by David Nathaniel Gellman
Publisher: New York University Press
ISBN: 0814731503

In 1821, New York's political leaders met for over two months to rewrite the state's constitution. The new document produced by the delegates sitting in Albany secured the right to vote for the great mass of white men while denying all but the wealthiest African American men access to the polls.

Jim Crow New York introduces students and scholars alike to this watershed event in American political life. New York, perhaps the single most influential state in nineteenth-century America, defined democracy in explicitly racial terms at the dawn of an era of unprecedented popular participation.

This action crystallized for generations the paradoxes of free black citizenship, not only in the North but throughout the nation: African Americans living in New York would no longer be slaves, but would they be citizens?

Jim Crow New York provides readers with both scholarly analysis and access to a series of extraordinary documents. The collection features extensive excerpts from the resonant speeches made for and against disfranchisement at New York's 1821 constitutional convention.

Twenty-five additional documents range chronologically and culturally to recover a diversity of voices between 1777 and 1877, from lawmakers to African American community leaders, from newspaper editors to activists.

The text is further enhanced by extensive introductory essays and headnotes, timelines, maps, illustrations, and a bibliographic essay.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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