Canada has been understood as a Promised Land for tens of thousands escaping via the Underground Railroad, says Adam Arenson, a professor of history and director of the urban studies program at Manhattan College.
Yet those men and women — born into slavery or always in its shadow — were often redefined by having spent time in both the United States and Canada. African North Americans also encountered discrimination that did not ebb with the outbreak of the American Civil War.
Dr. Arensen will discuss the importance of the U.S.-Canada border to African North Americans in a free public lecture entitled “Beyond Freedom: Black North American Border-Crossers in the Emancipation Generation,” Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. in the SoCA Armouries Performance Hall.
He will explore how these stories inform histories of immigration, Reconstruction, citizenship, the great migration, and African Americans generally.
This event is sponsored by the Department of History and the Essex County Black Historical Research Society.