Platform for Change
The Foundations of the Northern Free Black Community, 1775-1865
Published by: Michigan State University Press
Imprint: Michigan State University Press
Sales Date: 1994-03-31
Platform for Change is a comparative study of the evolution of the free African American community in three cities—New York, Philadelphia, and Boston—from 1776 to 1865. It articulates the beginnings of community consciousness among northern free African Americans and examines their lives in the period from the Revolutionary to the Civil War. The author challenges existing scholarship about nineteenth-century blacks, which assesses their activity as just another exercise in powerlessness. Reed's work demonstrates that these people discovered and organized their power, and utilized it to construct a platform for change that continues to serve the African American community's needs today.
This work begins by defining the context and elements of the African American community awakening during the years 1770-1865. It also describes their churches, how the community established organizations, the role of black newspapers, the convention movement as a public forum for black leaders and their ideas, and their creation of a nationalist ideology.