Citation

The Popular Economy of Freedom: Cultural Visibility and Black Emancipation in the Early 19th Century

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Abstract:

Changes to socioeconomic positioning of free Blacks in antebellum Philadelphia, evidenced in a) labor and business ownership, b) the structural development of Black enclaves, and c) new ways of appearing in public; underscored early anxieties around questions of citizenship and freedom for people of African descent. African Americans living as free people with financial stability in 1830s Philadelphia forced whites to contend with the idea of Black national belonging through their purchasing power and their impact on the built environment. Black money not only facilitated the erection of separate churches and mutual aid to Black communities, but also fostered an extensive print culture to publicize Black protest. In this essay, I explore the manner in which Black economic empowerment forced a paradigm shift in visual culture relations that previously thrived on the invisible Black subject as enslaved worker. Through a shifting visibility in public and confrontation with dominant constructions of Black racial difference, African American economic empowerment resulted in a concept of freedom that America would be both fearful and yet proud of at the same time. The American “Negro” as spectacularly visible because of her increasing financial stability and newfound freedom would grow to represent a trans-Atlantic fascination with the idea of post-emancipation Blackness. This visual phenomenon produced various popular treatments of race, like minstrelsy and the production of other racial Americana, in slaving empires throughout the Atlantic world.
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Association:
Name: 95th Annual Convention
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http://www.asalh.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435956_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Cobb, Jasmine. "The Popular Economy of Freedom: Cultural Visibility and Black Emancipation in the Early 19th Century" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, Sep 29, 2010 <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435956_index.html>

APA Citation:

Cobb, J. N. , 2010-09-29 "The Popular Economy of Freedom: Cultural Visibility and Black Emancipation in the Early 19th Century" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435956_index.html

Publication Type: Individual Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Changes to socioeconomic positioning of free Blacks in antebellum Philadelphia, evidenced in a) labor and business ownership, b) the structural development of Black enclaves, and c) new ways of appearing in public; underscored early anxieties around questions of citizenship and freedom for people of African descent. African Americans living as free people with financial stability in 1830s Philadelphia forced whites to contend with the idea of Black national belonging through their purchasing power and their impact on the built environment. Black money not only facilitated the erection of separate churches and mutual aid to Black communities, but also fostered an extensive print culture to publicize Black protest. In this essay, I explore the manner in which Black economic empowerment forced a paradigm shift in visual culture relations that previously thrived on the invisible Black subject as enslaved worker. Through a shifting visibility in public and confrontation with dominant constructions of Black racial difference, African American economic empowerment resulted in a concept of freedom that America would be both fearful and yet proud of at the same time. The American “Negro” as spectacularly visible because of her increasing financial stability and newfound freedom would grow to represent a trans-Atlantic fascination with the idea of post-emancipation Blackness. This visual phenomenon produced various popular treatments of race, like minstrelsy and the production of other racial Americana, in slaving empires throughout the Atlantic world.


Similar Titles:
The Long Twentieth Century and the Cultural Turn: World-Historical Origins of the Cultural Economy

Making the Indian New(s): Popular Print Culture and the Politics of Transformation in the Late 19th-Century

The Black Aesthetic vs. the Soul Aesthetic: The Artistic Parallels of the Black Arts Movement and Black Popular Culture


 
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