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Keisha N. Benjamin
”Free Blacks in Nineteenth Century Binghamton”

In her recent history of the free black community of nineteenth-century Susquehanna County, PA, Debra Adleman wrote, “Things that have been forgotten or denied or have never been known or acknowledged, still exist, and when they are retrieved and reintegrated they give new and clearer meaning to the present.”[1] Adleman addressed the absence of blacks in the county’s recorded history, despite the significant role that blacks played in the nineteenth century. Similarly, the history of nineteenth-century Binghamton has paid very little attention to the black community, as demonstrated in the infrequent references made in local newspapers, local history books, and historical documents. Analyses of census records, letters, newspapers, oral histories, and nineteenth-century black community studies in the North reveal that although small, the black community of Binghamton flourished. This essay examines the lives of blacks in Binghamton from 1800 to 1860, with emphasis on free blacks of the mid-nineteenth century. Although facing the burden of racism and societal restrictions, the black community of Binghamton thrived, taking advantage of limited opportunities in the workforce, politics, education, and land ownership to build a strong foundation for subsequent generations.

An analysis of the nineteenth-century black community in Binghamton reveals a group of men and women who were not simply “helpless victims of social and political circumstances,” but a group who quickly rose above their previous repressive status, many being former slaves.[2] According to the 1855 census records, twenty percent of black residents were born in slave states, including Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware.[3] Although we cannot conclude that all blacks born in slave states were former slaves, there is no doubt that many had been, especially since sixty-five percent of blacks in the South were enslaved in the mid-nineteenth century.[4] The Underground Railroad provided a means by which these blacks could escape and find refuge in the North. It was only until the revised Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 that blacks faced an additional obstacle in the way of freedom. The Fugitive Slave Act made it unlawful for free citizens to assist escaped slaves, and granted slaveholders the right to capture runaway slaves in free states.[5] Therefore, blacks who had escaped from slave states after 1850 did so with the realization that the process would be even harder than before. Assistance from black and white abolitionists, and other sympathizers, became less frequent after 1850.[6]

Despite the anti-slavery movement, which was in full swing by the mid-nineteenth century, blacks still faced the reality that escaping from slavery did not guarantee long-term freedom. In Exploring a Common Past, Historian Dwight T. Pitcaithley describes the challenge faced by escaped slaves, stating, “Professional slave catchers seized black men and women, often on the street or at their work place, and hastened them south after giving evidence that this person was indeed a fugitive slave to the justice of the peace or court.”[7] In many situations such evidence was forged, yet many escaped slaves were still forced to return to their masters, even after enduring the difficult flight to freedom.[8]

Each year prior to the Civil War, thousands of slaves escaped from the South, the majority of which attempted to find refuge in the North and parts of Canada.[9] Many of these blacks migrated to various parts of upstate New York, including Elmira, Rochester, Buffalo and Binghamton.[10] Moreover, a significant number of former slaves from the North, who had acquired their freedom by the mid-nineteenth century, also relocated to Binghamton. This paper will discuss their migration to the latter and the legacy created by these early families, who were actively involved in the educational, political and economic areas of society. For both escaped slaves from the South and former slaves from the North, Binghamton became a place of refuge and a stepping-stone by which they were able to thrive throughout the nineteenth century.

Prior to the early nineteenth century, Binghamton was widely known as Chenango Point.[11] The village was renamed after William Bingham, a wealthy English banker and resident of Philadelphia, who had acquired a large portion of land on both sides of the Susquehanna River after the American Revolution.[12] Bingham envisioned a new village that would encourage migration to the area and serve as a competition with other towns in New York State. [13] William Bingham hired Joshua Whitney, a local merchant, to work as his land agent and help accomplish Bingham’s initial goals. With the responsibility of contracting the first street plan of the village, Whitney worked diligently to increase migration to the area until his sudden death in 1798.[14] His son, Joshua Whitney, immediately assumed his father’s responsibilities and under his direction, the first courthouse was built in 1802.[15] By 1840, the village had experienced widespread growth with the construction of a second courthouse, the development of the Erie and Chenango canals, and a population of two thousand. [16]

After the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, New York state residents fought to open several other canals, a period that local historian Gerald Smith refers to as “canal fever.”[17] These residents pushed for legislation that would authorize the construction of canals in several areas of the state, which eventually led to the development of the Chenango Canal by 1837.[18] James and Lois Horton’s In Hope of Liberty addresses the significant role that the Erie Canal played in the development of the west during the early nineteenth century:

The remarkably rapid population growth on the western frontier during the 1820s was fueled by commercial opportunities stimulated by the opening of the Erie canal in 1825...cities like Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Buffalo acted as business outposts for the development of the surrounding territory.... [Free states] attracted a growing number of African Americans, both free blacks and runaway slaves, and a white population of decidedly divided opinion about the institution of slavery.[19]

Similar to other northern cities, Binghamton experienced widespread economic and demographic growth as a result of the Erie Canal. Additionally, the Chenango Canal proved vital to the success of Binghamton.[20] It attracted widespread migration to the area, which led to the development of a diverse population.[21]

During the 1840s, a significant number of immigrants from Ireland and Germany settled in Broome County, motivated by various job opportunities that were available after the construction of the canals.[22] The Chenango Canal, which was ninety-five miles long and forty-six feet wide, provided a connection between Binghamton and Utica, and contributed significantly to the industrial growth of the area.[23] This industrial growth provided new residents with occupational opportunities in manufacturing and production. This became one of the main “pull factors” for both blacks and whites, which led to the arrival of nearly twelve thousand new residents between the early nineteenth century and the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.[24]

The nineteenth-century white population of Binghamton prospered in education and labor force participation. Members of the white community succeeded educationally, with ninety-eight percent of the white population capable of reading and writing, according to the 1855 census records.[25] New residents took advantage of the educational opportunities available in Binghamton through public schools, private academies, and local churches. In fact, the early education system in Binghamton was unable to accommodate the growing number of immigrant children in need of schooling, leading to the growth of private academies to fill the gap.[26] The white community also contributed greatly to the move towards the Industrial Age.

In The Valley of Opportunity, Gerald Smith describes the role that white residents played in the growth of Binghamton, stating, “These immigrants provided the region with a valuable source of labor for the growing industrial base.”[27] According to the 1855 New York State Census, a significant number of whites in Broome County worked in factories and as railroad men and merchants.[28] Others worked in a wide range of fields including carpentry and coopery. The members of Binghamton’s white community were also ethnically diverse, with ninety-one percent of the residents born outside of New York and eight percent born outside of the United States. [29]

By the mid-nineteenth century, the black community comprised of 1.4 percent of the general population. These blacks migrated to Binghamton, motivated by the same “pull factors” that drew many white immigrants to the area. Unlike their white counterparts, however, some blacks were escaped slaves seeking freedom in the North. Others were blacks from free states, including New York, who had relocated to Binghamton. In fact, there were also black residents who were born slaves in the Binghamton area. One such example is demonstrated through the life of Tom “Old Bay” Crocker, who was born a slave in 1820 to the prominent Crocker family of Union, the town that encompasses the village of Endicott and Johnson City.[30] According to local historians, Crocker’s wife, Margaret Cruiser, may have been an escaped slave who worked for the Gates family of Maine, only minutes away from Binghamton.[31] Blacks in Binghamton, whether born in the North or South, utilized their prior experiences and struggles as a discriminated minority to pave a future for themselves and subsequent generations.

The lives of Thomas Crocker and Margaret Cruiser help paint a picture of the nineteenth-century black population as a whole. Census records reveal that twenty percent of black residents were born in Broome County and had remained in the area for a significant number of years. Additionally, twenty-five percent of the black population came from the state of Pennsylvania. Although we cannot be entirely certain of the motivations behind the majority of these blacks to leave one free state for another, it is clear that Binghamton possessed many job opportunities for these men and women. This trend of migration was demonstrated through the life of one black resident, David Davis, who relocated to Binghamton in 1835.[32] Davis was born in Pennsylvania in 1815 and resided in Susquehanna County, PA until 1835.[33] He was married to an unknown woman in 1841 at the Presbyterian Church of Montrose, Pennsylvania, suggesting that his wife could have been a resident of Montrose. [34]

At least one of Davis’ intentions for relocating to Binghamton can be reasonably inferred from a surviving letter, written by Dr. Robert H. Rose, a successful landowner from nineteenth-century Pennsylvania.[35] Rose became well-known for his black farming communities in Silver Lake Township, Pennsylvania, in which escaped slaves would work as common laborers in return for land and equipment.[36] Records indicate that Davis worked for Rose at some point during the early nineteenth century.[37] Although Broome County census records indicate that Davis relocated to Binghamton in 1835, Rose’s letter, written in April of 1838 discusses Davis’ journey to Binghamton and possible motivations for his relocation. Rose explains that Davis and four other black men stole one of his wagons filled with many items, including grain, on their way to Binghamton.[38] Rose sent one of his workers in search of Davis and his acquaintances to acquire his items, only to find out that they were already sold.[39] It is clear that Rose was very displeased by Davis’ actions and stated that he wanted “nothing to do” with Davis.[40]

There are no surviving letters or written documents from Davis detailing his version of the events, however, Broome County census records and Robert H. Rose’s descriptions support the argument that Davis found more job opportunities in Binghamton. As a former laborer for Rose, Davis was one of the disgruntled blacks at the black farming communities in Pennsylvania. Author Debra Adleman believes that this was a result of the similarity between slavery and the work on Rose’s farm—blacks still felt oppressed as laborers and sought better occupations that did not resemble slavery.[41] Although there are no indications that Davis was a former slave, this does demonstrate that blacks did not find Rose’s offer very appealing.

Despite the questionable circumstances under which Davis left Pennsylvania, these accounts also demonstrate that there were more opportunities for blacks in Binghamton in the early nineteenth century in comparison to nearby towns. Davis and his acquaintances most likely viewed Binghamton as one of the centers of commerce, in which they would be able to make a profit from the stolen items. Rose’s letter reveals that they successfully sold the items within weeks of arriving in Binghamton. Census records reveal that Davis eventually acquired a job as a “carman” and remained in Binghamton for at least twenty years after his initial relocation.[42]

The atmosphere of nineteenth-century Binghamton was one of racism and numerous societal restrictions towards the black community. Binghamton’s earlier history reveals an acceptance towards the institution of slavery and racist attitudes, as verified through local newspapers of the nineteenth century. The Broome Republican, which was widely published in Broome County, portrayed blacks as dangerous to the larger white community. The following passage describes an alleged assault against a white girl in 1831:

On Friday evening last, a negro man, belonging to Mr. Rogers of this county, attempted to commit violence upon a deaf and dumb girl by the name of Dodd. She lived with her mother, a widow woman, who was very infirm and upwards of 80 years of age. The two, and a very small negro girl, constituted the whole family. While the monster was endeavoring to accomplish his purpose upon the daughter, the mother attempted to drive him away with by striking him with an axe.[43]

In describing this alleged assault, The Broome Republican dehumanized this black man in way that was inconsistent with its descriptions of other crimes, including murders that were committed by white assailants.

By 1799, the laws of New York State indicated a gradual move towards the emancipation of black slaves, however, it was only until 1827 that all black slaves lawfully obtained complete emancipation.[44] The abolition of slavery in New York State did not dispel the widespread feelings of racism towards the black community.[45] In The Meaning of Slavery in the North, Professor Thomas O’Connor discussed the observations of French visitor, Alexis de Tocqueville, who found that racial prejudice appeared stronger in the North than in the South.[46] Other historians including Dan Georgakas argue that the free states of the North were “full partners in the viability of the slave society of the South.”[47] Despite the fact that New York was one of the most sought-after free states of the nineteenth century, these historians and others maintain the view that the atmosphere of nineteenth-century free states was one of comparable racism with the atmosphere in the South. Although blacks were able to live in freedom because of the earlier abolition of slavery in the North, they were not exempt from some of the same struggles facing their counterparts in the South.

Blacks in various areas of New York State, including Binghamton, faced societal restrictions in the opportunities available in education, land ownership, political involvement, and the labor force. Despite the fact that these blacks were either born in the Binghamton area or relocated after their newly found freedom, they faced a challenge of earning a living.[48] Many nineteenth-century occupations were off-limit to black residents. In the occupations that they were able to find, blacks often faced employers with racial prejudices. Blacks in manufacturing for example, faced discrimination, not because they lacked the necessary skills, but because of the racist attitudes that most northern industrialists maintained during this period.[49] Therefore, many blacks in Binghamton undoubtedly faced the same challenges in obtaining a job in nineteenth-century factories, and even in the development of railroads and the earlier canals. Although we cannot know for sure, it is unlikely that the blacks in nineteenth-century Binghamton held prominent positions in these industries, especially during this period in which the North was transitioning from the previous acceptance of slavery to its abolition by the mid- nineteenth century.

Restrictions in the political arena also posed a challenge to blacks in nineteenth- century Binghamton. Similar to other areas of the country, black men were not legally allowed to vote until the ratification of the fifteenth amendment in 1870. The amendment acknowledged the right of citizens to vote, regardless of their “race, color or previous condition of servitude.”[50] Even after its ratification, many blacks were still prohibited from actually voting until the 1960s. The blacks of nineteenth-century Binghamton were no exception to the rule, and despite the fact that many were literate, they were unable to vote during the mid-nineteenth century. In various parts of New York State, blacks were allowed to vote until 1821, when property requirements for voters led to separate racial standards for voting.[51] Consequently, after 1821, blacks were barred from voting and holding public offices, and had very little say in the political decisions of the community in which they resided. Furthermore, they were not allowed to participate in the state’s militias, which had excluded blacks and Indians since 1785.[52]

In the same manner, blacks during this period faced challenges in education. Prior to the antebellum era, few schools in which blacks could obtain an education existed in the North and South.[53] Although very little information is available detailing the educational opportunities of blacks in Binghamton prior to the Civil War, there is no doubt that the opportunities were few. In fact, the schools that were available for blacks in the North during this period were generally “housed in crowded, inferior buildings staffed by less than qualified teachers of either race, and restricted to their curricula offerings.”[54] Blacks who sought an education in New York State prior to the Civil War had to overcome many stumbling blocks, and had to deal with these less-than- perfect circumstances.

Similarly, blacks who intended to own land in the nineteenth century faced many challenges and much racism. According to writer and historian John Wood Sweet, “Many northerners...resisted any social or symbolic empowerment of free blacks.”[55] Therefore, nineteenth-century blacks intending to own land had to break through the barrier of racism in a white society that did not want to see them succeed. Additionally, many blacks held menial jobs that were unable to provide the necessary income to purchase land. In most cases, blacks were paid less than white workers, even for the same duties.[56] The average nineteenth-century black family faced the challenge of providing the basic necessities for themselves and their families.[57] Therefore, the very decision to own land was a momentous one that came with many consequences and sacrifices. It is not surprising that black landowners during this period were rare.

The societal restrictions that blacks faced in the nineteenth century reveal the strength of the black community of Binghamton, which flourished in spite of these factors. Blacks took advantage of the limited occupational opportunities to help improve themselves, the lives of their family members, and their community as a whole. The occupational structure of the black community in Binghamton resembled that of other black communities in various cities and towns in the North. There were very few blacks in the North who held professional occupations such as lawyers, teachers and doctors.[58] In fact, there were no doctors, teachers or lawyers listed in the local census records of 1855.[59]

Since most nineteenth-century black women did not hold occupations outside of the duties as housewives, an analysis of the occupations held by nineteenth century black men seems more appropriate. The majority of black men in Binghamton and many other parts of the North were unskilled and therefore obtained “lower class” jobs as laborers, coachmen, whitewashers and servants.[60] Others were skilled and entrepreneurial, and held occupations such as barber, machinist, carpenter, and mason.[61] However, the occupational restrictions facing black men of the nineteenth century “practically guaranteed that many free blacks would become poor, dependent and perhaps, criminal.”[62] Yet, these societal handicaps did not deter blacks from their full participation in the workforce and many endured long, hard hours for the sake of their families.[63]

Societal restrictions and racist attitudes did not dissuade the black community from making use of the limited educational opportunities that were available. According to the 1855 Census, 62.7 percent of Binghamton’s black population could read and write, despite the limited educational opportunities that were available. Blacks took advantage of these limited opportunities and fully participated in the struggle towards literacy. They utilized the few schools and other educational programs through local churches that were available to blacks. Local black churches, in particular, played a major role in the education of free blacks in Binghamton and other areas of the North. In addition to serving as a training ground for leaders, a place where unskilled blacks could obtain positions of religious influence, and a haven from white racism, the church also served as place where free blacks and their children could obtain an education in a welcoming environment.[64]

Additionally, Binghamton’s black men and women may have participated in local school reform efforts in spite of their minority status. In their analysis of nineteenth- century northern black communities, historians Ernestine K. Enomoto and David L. Angus state, “Being freedmen and freedwomen rather than slaves, the educational demands of northern African Americans were for public education that would include them in common school reform efforts.”[65] Enomoto and Angus further explain that blacks in the North generally utilized innovative means such as joining together to make private arrangements for schooling and even hiring their own teachers when possible.[66] Consequently, a significant percentage of blacks in Binghamton were literate, with the rudimentary knowledge of reading and writing. As common in other nineteenth-century black communities in the North, illiteracy was higher among older adults, and older black women were less likely to be literate than older black men.[67]

An analysis of the black community of Binghamton also reveals a group of men and women who were politically involved despite their societal restrictions. As previously stated, blacks were not legally allowed to vote until 1870, and it was unheard of for blacks to hold public offices. According to census records, however, twenty-seven percent of adult black men were still registered as voters, even though it is unlikely that they actually did vote.[68] Despite the voting restrictions, blacks still played a vital role in politics, namely activism towards ending slavery in the South. Black religious leaders in particular, played an active role in political activism. Henry Johnson, a traveling preacher who ministered through Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church in Binghamton, fought for the emancipation of enslaved blacks in the South, and the progress of free blacks in the North.[69] Dr. Robert H. Rose attributed the dissatisfaction of his black workers to Henry Johnson, who may have encouraged black to reject a life of hard labor.[70] This was characteristic of Johnson, who like other black religious leaders, utilized his influence for both local reform among the black community as a whole. Through the active participation in the Underground Railroad and Anti-Slavery societies, blacks in Binghamton, like blacks in other northern cities, contributed to both local and national reform.[71]

The willingness of blacks to openly promote the abolition of slavery demonstrates significant courage and unity in the fight for the freedom of their enslaved counterparts. It is also noteworthy because black abolitionists during this period endangered themselves and families, especially after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Free blacks in Binghamton and other parts of the North played a vital role in aiding escaped slaves from the South. They formed Anti-Slavery societies, Vigilance committees and filled the positions of officers when needed.[72] It is also worth mentioning that according to oral tradition, famous author, Frederick Douglass published the North Star from the local A.M.E. Zion Church in Binghamton in 1872, as part of his national abolitionist movement.[73] This indicates that the atmosphere of the nineteenth-century black community in Binghamton was one that was conducive to political reform.

Although nineteenth-century blacks were restricted from holding public office in Binghamton and other parts of New York State, the experiences of Thomas “Old Bay” Crocker reveal that blacks were certainly willing to do so despite the restrictions. In 1872, Thomas Crocker, a former slave from the Binghamton area, was elected mayor under unusual circumstances. Prominent capitalist and seemingly unopposed mayoral candidate Sherman Phelps was the only name on the ballot for mayor that year.[74] However, the general community opposed his election as mayor and at the “eleventh hour” formed a write-in campaign for the election of Thomas Crocker, who worked as a laborer.[75] Phelps was immediately defeated and Crocker briefly served as mayor.

Even though the election of Crocker was motivated by a common dislike of Phelps, it reveals the community’s recognition of Crocker as a viable candidate and his willingness to serve despite the negative atmosphere. The actual circumstances regarding Crocker’s dismissal are unknown, but it can be reasonably assumed that despite the community’s dislike of Phelps, a black mayor in nineteenth century Binghamton was intolerable. There is no record that Crocker attempted to hold any public offices after this experience. Instead, he resumed his former occupation until 1880, when he acquired a job as “bag picker” while suffering from rheumatism.[76]

The black community of Binghamton also owned a substantial amount of land despite financial and societal restrictions. Census records reveal that 15.2 percent of the black population of Binghamton owned land.[77] Though small, this reveals the strong motivations of blacks who fought against the obstacles to own land for themselves and their families. More specifically, more than twenty-five percent of black men in Binghamton were landowners.[78] In various free states, skilled black workers were more likely to own land; not all black landowners however, were skilled workers.[79] James and Lois Horton describes this trend of property ownership among black skilled workers in the North:

Although most black workers could find employment only at the bottom of the occupational ladder, about one quarter of those whose occupations were recorded in the census filled the middle occupational ranks of free black society...[While] property holding was not strictly distributed according to occupational position, and most held no property, workers in this middling group held more property than semiskilled or unskilled workers.[80]

The Hortons’ statement indicates that most black landowners in the North were generally skilled. Local census records also reveal that the same trend applied to free black landowners in nineteenth-century Binghamton. However, one’s occupation certainly did not determine whether or not that individual owned property. Black landowners in Binghamton held diverse occupations ranging from common laborers to masons.[81]

Two examples of black landowners in nineteenth-century Binghamton are Lloyd Wilson, one of the youngest black landowners, and Jane Potter, the oldest and only female landowner listed in the 1855 census records.[82] Wilson was a barber from Pennsylvania, who relocated to Binghamton in 1851.[83] Wilson was registered as an unmarried voter in 1855 at the age of twenty-seven and able to read or write.[84] Although very little is known about Wilson and his motivations for relocating to Binghamton, his life reveals the motivation of many black men in Binghamton to own land. Wilson was able to acquire land within four years of his arrival to the area and he did so as a barber.

The life of Jane Potter is another example of a black landowner in nineteenth century Binghamton. Black landowners varied in occupation, education and age. In contrast to Wilson, Potter was an uneducated sixty-five year old widow from Orange County, NY, who had relocated to Binghamton in 1817. Although she may have obtained the land after her husband’s death, Potter’s ownership of land during this period attests to the importance placed on land ownership by both black men and women of the nineteenth century. It is also baffling, yet remarkable that blacks with menial jobs during this period were able to purchase land, given the economic challenges in providing for themselves and their families. The experiences of Wilson, Potter, and numerous other black owners of nineteenth century Binghamton reveal the motivations and great lengths that blacks went to obtain property.

The active participation of blacks in the workforce, education, politics, and land ownership during the antebellum era contributed greatly to the development of a solid foundation for the subsequent generations of blacks in Binghamton. The black community of Broome County has grown rapidly from a little over one percent of the population in 1855 to twenty-one percent in 2003.[85] Although this growth can be attributed to many economic factors surrounding the migration of blacks into the area, the current extensive opportunities available to blacks in education, politics, land ownership, and the workforce can be attributed to the foundation built by these nineteenth-century free blacks. The decision made by these free blacks to take advantage of the few occupational opportunities, utilize innovative means to obtain literacy, own land, and fully participate in both social and political activism served as a foundation and model for subsequent generations.

The apparent absence of blacks in Binghamton’s history does not indicate their absence from the growth and success of the Binghamton community as a whole. As Debra Adleman concluded in her research of Susquehanna County’s black community, “Things that have been forgotten or denied or have never been known or acknowledged, still exist...”[86] Whether or not the black community of nineteenth-century Binghamton receive accolades for their endurance and significant contribution to Binghamton’s early history, it does not change the reality that they did endure many challenges in the fight for a better life for following generations. Their active involvement in social and political activism served as a catalyst for the emergence of a racially diverse community.

This portrait of the nineteenth-community black community of Binghamton transcends the frequently accepted stereotype that free blacks were simply helpless victims of racist societal restrictions. In actuality, these men and women did not allow the societal restrictions to keep them in a repressive state of any kind—they took advantage of every opportunity available and utilized their creative skills to obtain opportunities that were not readily available to them. As Adleman accurately stated, “When they [forgotten things] are retrieved and reintegrated they give new and clearer meaning to the present.”[87] This portrayal of free blacks in nineteenth-century Binghamton gives a clearer understanding of their struggles, but most significantly their successes, which contributed, greatly to twenty-first century Binghamton.

Work’s Cited

Adleman, Debra. Waiting for the Lord: Nineteenth Century Black Communities in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. Camden: Picton Press, 1997

Berlin, Ira. “The Structure of the Free Negro Caste in the Antebellum United States” In Articles on American Slavery: Free Blacks in a Slave Society, ed. Paul Finkelman. New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1989

Broome County Historical Society. 1855 Census Records. Binghamton, NY: Broome County Public Library, 1855

Countryman, Edward. “From Revolution to Statehood” In The Empire State: A History of New York. ed. Milton M. Cline. New York: Cornell University Press, 2001

Enomoto, Ernestine K and David L. Angus. “African American School Attendance in the 19th Century: Education in a Rural Northern Community, 1850-1880,” Journal of Negro Education (1995)

Exploring a Common Past: Researching and Interpreting the Underground Railroad. Ohio: National Park Service, 1998

Friends of Harriet Tubman Ad Hoc Committee, Freedom Trail: The Middle Passage, 02 February 2001, < http://www.freedomtrail.org/timeline/pre-civilwar1800.htm> (28 October 2005)

GoBroomeCounty.com, Press Release: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: February 7, 27 January 2003 < http://www.binghamtonairport.com/press/012703ha.php> (28 November 2005)

“Horrid Outrage.” Broome Republican. 09 June 1831

Horton, James Oliver and Lois E. In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community, and Protest Among Northern Free Blacks, 1770-1860. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997

___. Black Bostonians: Family Life and Community Struggles in the Antebellum North. New York and London: Holmes and Meiers Publishers, 1979

Jones, Faustine C. “Black Americans and the City: A Historical Survey.” The Journal of Negro Education (1973)

Peterson, Clara. Review of Free People of Color: Inside the African American Community, by James Oliver Horton and In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community and Protest Among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860, by James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton, American Studies International 36 (1998):87-89

Provine, Dorothy. “The Economic Position of Free Blacks in the District of Columbia, 1880-1860.” The Journal of Negro History (1973)

Schantz, Mark S. Review of Bodies Politic: Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830, by John Wood Sweet, Journal of the Early Republic24(2004):680-682

Smith, Gerald. The Valley of Opportunity: A Pictorial History of the Greater Binghamton Area. Virginia Beach: Donning Company/Publishers, 1988

The Meaning of Slavery in the North. ed. David Roediger and Martin H. Blatt. New York: Garland Publising, 1998

US States Federal Census Records, 1870 <ancenstry.com> (10 November 2005)

___,1880. <ancenstry.com> (10 November 2005)

Wilkinson, J.B. The Annals of Binghamton of 1840. Binghamton: Vail-Ballou Press, 1967



[1]. Debra Adleman, Waiting for the Lord: Nineteenth Century Black Communities in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania (Camden: Picton Press, 1997), 5

[2]. Clara Peterson, review of Free People of Color: Inside the African American Community, by James Oliver Horton and In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community and Protest Among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860, by James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton, American Studies International (1998): 87

[3]. Broome County Historical Society. 1855 Census Records. Binghamton, NY: Broome County Public Library, 1855

[4]. Ira Berlin, “The Structure of the Free Negro Caste in the Antebellum United States,” in Articles on American Slavery: Free Blacks in a Slave Society, ed. Paul Finkelman (New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1989), 4

[5]. Exploring a Common Past: Researching and Interpreting the Underground Railroad. (Ohio: National Park Service, 1998), 10

[6]. Ibid., 8

[7]. Ibid,. 11

[8]. Ibid., 11

[9]. Ibid., 8

[10]. Faustine C. Jones, “Black Americans and the City: A Historical Survey,” The Journal of Negro Education  (1973): 264

[11]. J.B. Wilkinson, The Annals of Binghamton of 1840 (Binghamton: Vail-Ballou Press, 1967), 5

[12]. Gerald R. Smith, The Valley of Opportunity: A Pictorial History of the Greater Binghamton Area (Virginia Beach: Donning Company/Publishers, 1988), 22

[13]. Ibid.

[14]. Ibid.

[15]. Ibid.

[16]. Ibid., 28

[17]. Ibid., 29

[18]. Ibid., 35

[19]. James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton, In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community, and Protest Among Northern Free Blacks, 1770-1860 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 104

[20]. Smith, 35

[21]. Ibid.

[22]. Ibid.

[23]. Ibid.

[24]. Ibid.

[25]. Broome County Historical Society, 1855 Census Records

[26]. Smith, 35

[27]. Ibid.

[28]. Broome County Historical Society. 1855 Census Records

[29]. Broome County Historical Society, 1855 Census Records

[30]. Chas Browne, email to author, 24 October 2005

[31]. Ibid.

[32]. Broome County Historical Society, 1855 Census Records

[33]. Ibid.

[34]. Adleman, 27

[35]. Ibid.,18

[36]. Ibid.

[37]. Ibid., 24

[38]. Ibid., 23

[39]. Ibid.

[40]. Ibid.

[41]. Ibid., 18

[42]. Broome County Historical Society, 1855 Census Records

[43]. “Horrid Outrage,” Broome Republican, 09 June 1831

[44]. Edward Countryman. “from Revolution to Statehood” in The Empire State: A History of New York, ed. by Milton M. Cline (New York: Cornell University Press, 2001), 248

[45]. Introduction to The Meaning of Slavery in the North, ed. David Roediger and Martin H. Blatt (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

[46]. Ibid., 45

[47]. Ibid., Foreword

[48]. Ibid., Introduction

[49]. Ibid., 45

[50]. U.S. Constitution, amend. 15, sec. 1

[51]. Horton and Horton, 107

[52]. Mark S Schantz, review of Bodies Politic: Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830, by John Wood Sweet, Journal of the Early Republic24(2004):680-682

[53]. Ernestine K. Enomoto and David L. Angus, “African American School Attendance in the 19th Century: Education in a Rural Northern Community, 1850-1880,” Journal of Negro Education (1995):

[54]. Ibid.

[55]. Sweet, 262

[56]. Dorothy Provine, “The Economic Position of the Free Blacks in the District of Columbia, 1800-1860”,

The Journal of Negro History (1973): 61

[57]. Ibid., 62

[58]. James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton. Black Bostonians: Family Life and Community Struggles in the Antebellum North (New York and London: Holmes and Meier Publishers, 1979), 9

[59]. Broome County Historical Society, 1855 Census Records

[60]. Broome County Historical Society, 1855 Census Records

[61]. Broome County Historical Society, 1855 Census Records. Classification of occupations were derived from Horton’s Black Bostonians, 129-30

[62]. Horton and Horton’s In Hope of Liberty, 110

[63]. Preface to Horton and Horton’s Black Bostonians

[64]. Ibid., 39

[65]. Enomoto and Angus, 42

[66]. Ibid., 43

[67]. Horton and Horton’s Black Bostonians, 12

[68]. Broome County Historical Society, 1855 Census Records —adult defined as age twenty-one and over

[69]. Adleman, 23

[70]. Adleman, 23

[71]. Peterson, 88

[72]. Exploring a Common Past, 8

[73]. Friends of Harriet Tubman Ad Hoc Committee, Freedom Trail: The Middle Passage, 02 February 2001, < http://www.freedomtrail.org/timeline/pre-civilwar1800.htm> (28 October 2005)

[74]. Smith, 35

[75]. US States Federal Census Records, 1870 <ancenstry.com> (10 November 2005)

[76]. US State Census Records, 1880 <ancestry.com> (10 November 2005)

[77]. Broome County Historical Society, 1855 Census Records

[78]. Broome County Historical Society, 1855 Census Records

[79]. Horton and Horton’s Black Bostonians, 11

[80]. Horton and Horton’s In Hope of Liberty, 114

[81]. Broome County Historical Society, 1855 Census Records

[82]. Ibid.

[83]. Ibid.

[84]. Ibid.

[85]. GoBroomeCounty.com, Press Release: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: February 7, 27 January 2003 < http://www.binghamtonairport.com/press/012703ha.php> (28 November 2005)

[86]. Adleman, 5

[87]. Ibid.

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Last Updated: 8/14/14