What the United States dubs “freedom” is inherently tied to methods of violence. The United States’s abolitionist movement was not free from this connection. This is in spite of one of the best known white abolitionists, William Lloyd Garrison, being a pacifist, and many contemporary politicians referencing his method of non-violent resistance as a way to thwart present-day movements that grapple with the subject of revolutionary violence as a method to gain freedom from oppression. The abolitionist movement’s Black activists saw how the repression of their freedoms in the north was directly tied to the oppression of their enslaved sisters and brothers. In her new book Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence
(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), Kellie Carter Jackson
chronicles how violence was harnessed by Black abolitionists in their quest to rid the United States of chattel slavery. Force and Freedom
explores why, for many Black abolitionists, slavery could only be obliterated through violent means.
Adam McNeil is PhD student in History at the University of Delaware where he is an African American Public Humanities Initiative and Colored Conventions Project Scholar. He received his M.A. in History at Simmons College in 2018 and his B.S. in History at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in 2015. Follow him @CulturedModesty on Twitter to learn more about upcoming interviews.