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Uncovering Black Heroes

Lesser-Known Stories of Liberty and Civil Rights


David Boers

Uncovering Black Heroes: Lesser-Known Stories of Liberty and Civil Rights is a series of stories regarding real people who are not so well known in the mainstream of American freedom and civil rights discussions. These people have made a difference by the events of their lives and by the deliberate contributions they made. In some chapters depictions of fugitive slaves create awareness of the perils of freedom runs and of the desperate, dangerous, and terrifying life of being a hunted person. In other chapters the degree of local level blockage individuals needed to confront is exposed. Still other chapters point out major efforts by diligent, but for the most part unknown, local people that result in court case settlements and state laws to advance civil rights, in particular suffrage. One chapter takes a close look at leaders in women’s clubs and how those leaders defined women’s roles in the Black freedom and civil rights movements. Themes stand out as they all build upon each other and are seen from one chapter to the next. In the end, a subtle evolution of ideas can be realized that forms the notion that the great and recognized Black leaders in history have their important place but that freedom and civil rights advancements are made on the backs of the local unknowns who need to be recognized for what they have contributed. This uncovering of unknown players involved in crucial events of their times in the quest for social, political, civil, and personal equality and freedom provides a unique perspective somewhat counter to mainstream thinking.

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What is revealed in this book is the linkage between vastly unknown local events and personal actions and the recognized civil rights movements and leaders that are known widely on a national level. While events on a national scale trudge forward with diligence and courageous struggle so do lesser-known events that connect, feed into, and form the foundation of a national movement. The manuscript attempts to form the concept that national leaders made their gains only with the help of local agency. The essays/stories laid out as chapters in this book are real-life examples of the local backbone that helped the national efforts stand tall. Though usually with networks of support behind them, these local freedom fighters had much to lose and small chance of gain but they struck out in the dream of a better and more equal land. It is when their stories are brought to light that it becomes clear that national leaders were not acting alone and that local efforts were in play across the nation directly and indirectly in support of those who were more readily recognized.

The chapters presented should bring about a curiosity as to what history is present within the reader’s locale and how that history connected with the greater movements for civil/social rights. This book will provide questions as to how local politics and social norms impacted the attempts by oppressed ← ix | x → populations to gain a social, economic, and political foothold. From this, readers should begin...

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