Colonization and Its Discontents

Emancipation, Emigration, and Antislavery in Antebellum Pennsylvania

By Beverly C. Tomek

From The NYU Press

304 pp / $39.00

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Pennsylvania contained the largest concentration of early America's abolitionist leaders and organizations, making it a necessary and illustrative stage from which to understand how national conversations about the place of free blacks in early America originated and evolved, and, importantly, the role that colonization—supporting the emigration of free and emancipated blacks to Africa—played in national and international antislavery movements. Beverly C. Tomek's meticulous exploration of the archives of the American Colonization Society, Pennsylvania’s abolitionist societies, and colonizationist leaders (both black and white) enables her to boldly and innovatively demonstrate that, in Philadelphia at least, the American Colonization Society often worked closely with other antislavery groups to further the goals of the abolitionist movement.

Reviews & Quotes

"Tomek offers a brilliant and provocative analysis of the antislavery network. By using individual Pennsylvanians, black and white, as case studies, Tomek demonstrates the enormous diversity of the political and social motivations driving schemes of colonization. Her work illuminates the interplay of idealism and pragmatism, of competition and cooperation among advocates for gradual emancipation, colonization, and immediate abolition. This work is an extraordinary contribution to the historical understanding of American colonization."
— Orville Vernon Burton, author of The Age of Lincoln

About Beverly C. Tomek

Beverly C. Tomek is an assistant professor of history at the University of Houston-Victoria in Victoria, Texas.

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"The Early American Places series is an exciting development in scholarly publishing, one that will highlight the most important part of the study of history: the local and particular dimensions of global issues and trends. This is where the rubber meets the road, where ordinary people's lives help to make, and are made by, the bustling wider world in which they live. Early American Places is an original series, and it will publish important scholarship."

— Stephanie M. H. Camp, University of Washington