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Lecture 7

AFAM 3001 Lecture 7: 7. Kidnapping, Fugitive Slave Law, Sanctuary Cities

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Fordham University
African American Studies
AFAM 3001

Kidnapping, Fugitive Slave Law, Sanctuary Cities • Slavery & the economic boom o Slavery increased exponentially in the South by mid-1800s o 1793 Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin made cotton production vastly more profitable: o Before its invention it took one slave took ten hours to produce one pound of cotton o With the cotton gin, 1000 lbs. per day with the gin o By 1860, the number of American slaves reached 4 million, one-seventh of all Americans were enslaved o The rapid growth in slave-driven economy bolstered the anti-slavery movement in the North o As slavery expanded, white proslavery forces (“apologists”) argued for the “positive” impact of slavery on blacks (Christianity, “civilization,” learning to work, stereotyped blacks as “happy” and “childlike,” etc.) o [See image on cover of Powerpoint] • Abolitionism o Traditional definition of an “abolitionist” was an individual (often white and male) at the head of an organization devoted to ending slavery o William Lloyd Garrison o John Brown o Gerrit Smith o Lydia Maria Child o Frederick Douglass o Different approaches in the campaign to abolish slavery o Moral suasion o Legal routes o Armed resistance o Running off slaves/confronting kidnappers in free states o Slaves “stealing” themselves o The movement at large, however, grew more militant after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 • How historians approached the study of abolitionist movement o By the 1980s, historians began to include black abolitionists in this group (i.e., Benjamin Quarles’ Black Abolitionists, 1969) o By the 1990s, historians (like Berlin) began to include enslaved blacks who “stole” themselves into the category of abolitionists o Presently, historians like Manisha Sinha have wholistic approach: grouped all of these individuals and organizations together to include o Those with organizational affiliations o African Americans both affiliated and non-affiliated with organizations o African American “fugitives” (runaways) o Affiliated and unaffiliated African Americans in communities who advocated for, housed or otherwise protected and/or advocated for blacks who fled slavery or were kidnapped with the intent of being sold into slavery • 1850 Fugitive Slave Law o 1850 Fugitive Slave Law o “…any person who shall knowingly and willingly obstruct, hinder, or prevent [an individual authorized by the owner of a fugitive slave] from arresting such a fugitive… or shall aid, abet, or assist such…to escape from such claimant, [etc.] …so as to prevent the disco
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