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Advocates of Freedom
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Book description

During the nineteenth century and especially after the Civil War, scores of black abolitionists like Frederick Douglass, Moses Roper and Ellen Craft travelled to England, Ireland, Scotland, and parts of rural Wales to educate the public on slavery. By sharing their oratorical, visual, and literary testimony to transatlantic audiences, African American activists galvanised the antislavery movement, which had severe consequences for former slaveholders, pro-slavery defenders, white racists, and ignorant publics. Their journeys highlighted not only their death-defying escapes from bondage but also their desire to speak out against slavery and white supremacy on foreign soil. Hannah-Rose Murray explores the radical transatlantic journeys formerly enslaved individuals made to the British Isles, and what light they shed on our understanding of the abolitionist movement. She uncovers the reasons why activists visited certain locations, how they adapted to the local political and social climate, and what impact their activism had on British society.


'Hannah-Rose Murray’s accomplished study is a tour-de-force of scholarly research that challenges our understanding of transatlantic African American abolitionists by presenting original insights about their impact on British audiences and evolving print and performance cultures.'

Barbara McCaskill - Professor of English and author of Love, Liberation and Escaping Slavery: William and Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory

'Advocates of Freedom is a thoroughly researched, clearly written, interdisciplinary study of transatlantic African American abolitionists. Based on a mind-bogglingly extensive mapping project that showcases new and radical speech-making and performances, it will profoundly alter our perceptions of nineteenth century Black Atlantic culture and history.'

Alan Rice - Professor in English and American Studies, University of Central Lancashire, Preston

'Murray’s work maps the abolitionist and anti-lynching activism of African American men and women in Britain within those cartographies of freedom made possible by their self-emancipatory work. She identifies performance and print culture as vehicles of resistance in the struggle against slavery and the violent racism that both accompanied it and its legacy.'

Fionnghuala Sweeney - University of Newcastle

‘… a marvelous recovery of the panoply of events, networks, strategies, performances, and tropes that abolitionists employed to convince and capture audiences abroad. In a wealth of detail drawn from local newspapers, Murray examines and deconstructs the ‘performative strategies’ of a variety of Black abolitionists - performances, she notes, that were created and managed out of the experience of slavery engaging with the expectations and preconceptions of white European audiences.’

J. A. Jaffe Source: CHOICE

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