Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of History

Content Description

1 online resource (ix, 439 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Amy M Taylor

Committee Members

Richard F Hamm, Oscar R Williams


Abolition, Black Atlantic, Black Civil Rights/Activism, Black Press, Community Studies, Mobility, African Americans, African American abolitionists, Free Black people

Subject Categories

African American Studies | United States History


This dissertation explores the evolution and trajectory of the abolition movement led by black men and women in Troy, New York, before 1861. At the grassroots level, black Trojan men and women claimed public spaces and founded societies and associations that simultaneously supported local black upliftment and laid the foundation from which a larger abolitionist network, within New York State and across state and national borders, was constructed. Through the operations of an “Aboveground Railroad” system that complimented the Underground Railroad system through Troy but focused on the movement of free people, as well as communications in abolition and black newspapers, black Trojans were central figures in the quest for universal emancipation and black civil rights activism in New York state and beyond. By spearheading the New York State Black Convention movement and participating in the Black National Convention Movement, black Trojans wove together black civil rights and abolition activism. But intra-and-interracial abolition cohesion on the national-level was frequently disharmonious, because black Trojans designed their campaign, and prioritized their strategies, with Empire-state party politics and race-based legislation in mind. Yet despite domestic inter- and-interracial abolition discord, black Trojan abolitionists maintained an agenda that sought to expose white supremacy in America. And through Black Nationalism, they, literally and metaphorically, engaged with foreign allies in the quest for universal emancipation, merging their grassroots abolition campaign into the Atlantic World.