Underground Railroad Research Forum
Re: HINSON VILLAGE IN CHESTER COUNTY PA
In Response To: Re: HINSON VILLAGE IN CHESTER COUNTY PA ()
i thought some of you would be interested to know that russo has finally published her husband's book on hinsonville - i could not get her to change some of the info she had on the amos family that i am related to - i have not looked at the book - she used so much info that i gave her i thought she might send me a copy...
Hinsonville, A community at the Crossroads
by Marianne H. Russo and Paul A. Russo
Hinsonville, A Community at the Crossroads , tells the story of a tiny rural community of free black property owners who lived in southeastern Pennsylvania during antebellum times. Just six miles north of the Mason-Dixon Line, this community illustrates in microcosm the nature of the dilemma that defines the black experience in America. The story opens a window on a rarely written-about world—that of rural black America in the nineteenth century.
Torn by tensions that troubled African Americans everywhere, the dozen or so families of Hinsonville grappled with many of the important issues of the day: white vs. black; slavery vs. freedom; colonization vs. abolition; agrarianism vs. industrialism; and rootedness vs. restlessness. Even Lincoln University—the black college that grew up in Hinsonville’s midst—ironically contributed to the village’s fate, by devouring the very farms whose owners had initially provided a safe haven for the institution.
Although ultimately the village vanished from local maps after forty years of existence, its story tells of much personal triumph and success. In a racist society where blacks were most often treated inhumanely, the families of Hinsonville remained strong, supportive, and self-sustaining. In an economic climate in which blacks encountered increasing discrimination and downward mobility, with rural blacks often the most negatively affected, several of the residents of Hinsonville became successful entrepreneurs. And in a society that denied blacks education, or offered only very limited options, the community of Hinsonville schooled its young, and became the site of the first college founded in the country exclusively for “young men of color.”
Seeking to reconstruct the early community of Hinsonville from fragmentary archival materials and oral interviews, Paul Russo, together with his students at Lincoln University, gradually unearthed information on Hinsonville’s residents and their lives. Marianne Russo has taken her late husband’s extensive research and placed it in the context of nineteenth-century African-American history.
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