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Products for grant FB-56857-13

FB-56857-13
Back from Canada: African North Americans during the Civil War and Reconstruction
Adam Arenson, University of Texas, El Paso

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FB-56857-13

African North Americans and the War (New York Times) (Article)
Title: African North Americans and the War (New York Times)
Author: Adam Arenson
Abstract: One-hundred-and-fifty years ago, Americans went to war with themselves. Disunion revisits and reconsiders America's most perilous period -- using contemporary accounts, diaries, images and historical assessments to follow the Civil War as it unfolded. Join Disunion on Facebook »
Year: 2013
Primary URL: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/06/african-north-americans-and-the-war/
Primary URL Description: Online commentary from the New York Times
Format: Newspaper
Periodical Title: New York Times
Publisher: New York Times

The Union's Fake Canadians (Blog Post)
Title: The Union's Fake Canadians
Author: Adam Arenson
Abstract: --
Date: 9/26/2014
Primary URL: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/author/adam-arenson/
Website: nytimes.com

Crossing the Border after the Underground Railroad: The Emancipation Generation of African North Americans in the United States and Canada, 1860s-1930s (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Crossing the Border after the Underground Railroad: The Emancipation Generation of African North Americans in the United States and Canada, 1860s-1930s
Author: Adam Arenson
Abstract: A presentation of my ongoing research at a gathering of scholars and descendants of those I am studying.
Date: 9/4/2015
Primary URL: http://www.buxtonmuseum.com/hcoming/hc-reg-conf.html
Primary URL Description: Event co-hosted by The Harriet Tubman Institute of York University & Buxton Historical Society
Conference Name: 17th Annual US/Canadian History & Genealogy Conference

After the Underground Railroad: African North Americans and Transnational Reconstruction, 1860-1930 (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: After the Underground Railroad: African North Americans and Transnational Reconstruction, 1860-1930
Abstract: A discussion of ongoing research during my NEH fellowship.
Author: Adam Arenson
Date: 2/5/15
Location: Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples, York University, Toronto

African North American Genealogy Across the US-Canada Border with Adam Arenson (Radio/Audio Broadcast or Recording)
Title: African North American Genealogy Across the US-Canada Border with Adam Arenson
Director: Bernice Benett
Producer: Bernice Benett
Abstract: Dr. Adam Arenson discusses his ongoing research about African North Americans—those men and women, born free or enslaved, who crossed or re-crossed the U.S.-Canada border in the era of emancipation, Civil War, and Reconstruction. We will discuss how difficult it is to determine how many fugitive slaves and free blacks were in Canada; the history of the more than 600 African North Americans who returned to fight for the U.S. Colored Troops; the thousands more who returned to the United States in the decades that followed; the hundreds of men, women, and children who traveled north to Canada after emancipation; and even the reason Civil War records are filled with fake claims of Canadian and other citizenship.
Date: 06/09/2016
Primary URL: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bernicebennett/2016/06/10/african-north-american-genealogy-across-the-us-canada-border-with-adam-arenson
Access Model: open access
Format: Digital File
Format: Web

Crossing the Border after the Underground Railroad: The Emancipation African North Americans in the United States and Canada, 1860s-1930s (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Crossing the Border after the Underground Railroad: The Emancipation African North Americans in the United States and Canada, 1860s-1930s
Author: Adam Arenson
Abstract: After Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, hundreds of African North Americans returned to fight for the U.S. Army, and thousands more returned to the United States in the decades that followed. At the same time, hundreds of men, women, and children traveled north to Canada, even after emancipation. Time in Canada gave African North Americans the power of comparison: When struggling for access to social and political participation and economic opportunity in the United States, these individuals had a reference point in British North America (Canada), a similar but distinct Anglo-American society with a different history of slavery, emancipation, and claims for equal rights. This paper places African North American political actions, economic choices, and cultural arguments within a transnational context, providing a new understanding of the source of political and cultural currents in U.S. history from the beginnings of the Underground Railroad to the death of the emancipation generation (roughly 1830-1920), expanding the geographic scope of Reconstruction and of African American history northward. It outlines the importance of the idea as well as the reality of Canada for these African North Americans, and then considers why the aftermath of the well-known Underground Railroad history has received so little attention.
Date: 10/22/2016
Primary URL: https://westernhistoryassociation.wildapricot.org/resources/Pictures/SEPT%2022%20FINAL%20VERSION%20OF%20ST%20PAUL%20PROGRAM.pdf
Primary URL Description: program from conference
Conference Name: Western History Association

Easy and Hard Methods for Tracking African North Americans in Historical Records (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Easy and Hard Methods for Tracking African North Americans in Historical Records
Author: Adam Arenson
Abstract: I describe my ongoing research on African North Americans who crossed the U.S.-Canada border after the Civil War. While I have not found many narrative sources, I have found many data points of African North American migration. This presentation will describe ongoing efforts to visualize and analyze this data using government documents, geo-location scripts, and Tableau visualizations and the role of a New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Labs grant, my colleague Dr. Musa Jafar, and our undergraduate students in this research.
Date: 11/2/2017
Primary URL: https://whadigitalfrontiers.com/2018/06/07/2017-wha-six-shooters-session/#jp-carousel-767n
Secondary URL: https://whadigitalfrontiers.com/2017/10/25/adam-arenson-easy-and-hard-methods-for-tracking-african-north-americans-in-historical-records/
Conference Name: Western History Association

After the Underground Railroad: Determining Distinctive Experiences for African North Americans in the Emancipation Generation, 1850-1930 (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: After the Underground Railroad: Determining Distinctive Experiences for African North Americans in the Emancipation Generation, 1850-1930
Author: Adam Arenson
Abstract: In our session at NYU Gallatin, I will share some of my initial writing, as I work to frame the project and begin analyzing my archival finds and writing in earnest. I am particularly interested in discussing how to consider the question of color, passing, and pre-existing advantages for some African North Americans, before they crossed the borders; the interplay of economic, family, and political motivations for African North American border-crossing, against the background of the far larger number of white North Americans crossing these borders; and the general lack of knowledge about this generation in both the United States and Canada.
Date: 09/26/2018
Conference Name: New York Canadian Studies Working Group

After the Underground Railroad: Tracking African North Americans across the U.S.-Canada Border in the Emancipation Generation (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: After the Underground Railroad: Tracking African North Americans across the U.S.-Canada Border in the Emancipation Generation
Author: Adam Arenson
Abstract: I have built a database to map migrations, geographic clusters, and kinship networks. Tracking individuals from census to census has been difficult, particularly if their color or race was not noted or perceived differently by different census-takers; some were wary of using their real names or did not know their ages; and some moved frequently, in the upheaval of the American Civil War or Reconstruction. Current systems are unable to record or search for the existence of a person without knowledge of their name (e.g., with a fuzzy identifier such as “he has a brother that was a sailor”). To date, we have identified about 10,000 families of these African North American border-crossers—but, as we clean and refine the data, we are finding many false positives as well as many missing individuals. In our database in progress, we have been matching individuals across the U.S. and Canadian censuses, and then tracking and visualizing the patterns of migration and the nodes of social, professional, religious, and educational networks for African North Americans in New York and Ontario via analysis in Excel and Tableau, with a SQL database in preparation. Once we have linked records, we propose using geographic-information-system (GIS) and network analysis tools, including Gephi, MapStory, and “geo-Gephi” layout programs, to visualize the connections between African North Americans and their routes of migration, as well as a system based on a system of uniform identification to track African North Americans in disparate archival and census data.
Date: 3/8/2019
Primary URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BryJM6KiMSY
Conference Name: Enslaved Conference, Michigan State University

Crossing the Border after the Underground Railroad: African North Americans Returning from Canada (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Crossing the Border after the Underground Railroad: African North Americans Returning from Canada
Author: Adam Arenson
Abstract: After Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, hundreds of African North Americans returned to fight for the U.S. Army, and thousands more returned to the United States in the decades that followed. Time in Canada gave African North Americans the power of comparison: When struggling for access to social and political participation and economic opportunity in the United States, these individuals had a reference point in British North America (Canada), a similar but distinct Anglo-American society with a different history of slavery, emancipation, and claims for equal rights. This paper places African North American political actions, economic choices, and cultural arguments within a transnational context, placing their migration among the more familiar stories of African Americans. It suggests a new understanding of the source of political and cultural currents in U.S. history from the beginnings of the Underground Railroad to the death of the emancipation generation (roughly 1830-1920), including for prominent leaders such as Martin Delany, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, and Mifflin Gibbs, as well as for nearly unknown figures traced in fraternal, church, veterans’, and educational records. This paper outlines the importance of the idea, as well as the reality, of Canada for these African North Americans, and then considers why the aftermath of the well-known Underground Railroad history has received so little attention.
Date: 4/4/2019
Primary URL: https://www.oah.org/site/assets/files/9031/oah_2019am_program_interactive.pdf
Conference Name: Organization of American Historians annual meeting

African North Americans Filing Contested-Widow Pensions: Family, Morality, and Proof Across the U.S-Canada Border (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: African North Americans Filing Contested-Widow Pensions: Family, Morality, and Proof Across the U.S-Canada Border
Author: Adam Arenson
Abstract: U.S. Civil War pension files were applications to a quasi-judicial board, authorized by Congress to gauge the level of disability among veterans, and to find and document their dependents. Filled with notarized depositions and medical examinations, the files were evaluated by civil servants whose conclusions could be appealed within the Pension Bureau, changed by Congress, or challenged in the courts. The examiners made their decisions according to unwritten rules of evidence—but the record shows how often their findings were influenced by overlapping strictures of racism, classism, and Victorian morality. The fuzzy standards at play are especially evident in the pension files for African North Americans—those of African descent whose lives were redefined by spending time on both sides of the U.S.- Canada border before, during, and after the American Civil War—who fought in the U.S. Colored Troops. Crossing and re-crossing the border, often with family on both sides, the African North Americans had experience in two similar but distinct Anglo-American societies, with different histories of racism and the struggle for equal rights. This paper analyzes the lives revealed in African North American “contested widow” pension files, where multiple women filed competing claims to be a deceased soldier’s spouse. The rulings turn on questions of proof: in the competing narratives of these women, and in the doubts of the pension officials, what standards of evidence should apply? What assumptions about human nature can be made, when documents are missing? These files reveal cases of alcoholism, infidelity, depression, and deceit, but they also suggest the complexity of race, law, standards of evidence, and memory in transnational lives constructed under two legal systems.
Date: 5/5/2019
Primary URL: https://chrs.uqam.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/programmation-re%CC%81sume%CC%81s.pdf
Conference Name: Conference on Family and Justice in the Archives, Concordia University, Montreal

Mapping the Networks of African North Americans Hidden in U.S. Government Records: Cases from the Pension Files and the Censuses (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Mapping the Networks of African North Americans Hidden in U.S. Government Records: Cases from the Pension Files and the Censuses
Author: Adam Arenson
Abstract: Though stories of the Underground Railroad fascinate the public, the history of those crossing the U.S.-Canada borders after 1861, in either direction, has not received much scholarly attention. This essay is drawn from a book project on the emancipation generation of African North Americans—those who were alive at the time of the final U.S. emancipation in 1865 and who made a border crossing. The majority of African North Americans were illiterate, and only a few of the most prominent individuals left significant papers. To follow the movements and actions of African North Americans, I have pursued traces within Civil War pension files and the U.S. and Canadian censuses. In the Civil War pension files, veterans (or their survivors) describe their needs, submit to medical examinations, and provide documentation about their character, family structure, employment, and migration histories, often through depositions. Tracing the connections between those deposed, across pension files, reveal the networks of veterans and their families, across the international border. And, while U.S. Census forms ask no questions about temporary residence in another country, finding those African North American children marked as born in Canada in the U.S. Census allows me to track migrations, geographic clusters, and kinship networks. This project argues that recovering the networks of African North Americans can reveal transnational allegiances and the evolution of the U.S.-Canada border regions, from the era of U.S. Reconstruction and Canadian Confederation to the start of the Great Migration.
Date: 6/6/2019
Primary URL: https://www.amphilsoc.org/networks-symposium-papers
Conference Name: American Philosophical Society conference, Philadelphia

African Canadian Emigration to the U.S., 1860-1930 (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: African Canadian Emigration to the U.S., 1860-1930
Author: Adam Arenson
Abstract: An update on my ongoing research, including tracking African North American migrations.
Date: 8/30/2019
Primary URL: https://www.huronresearch.ca/communityhistory/buxton-history-and-genealogy-conference/
Conference Name: Buxton History and Genealogy Conference, Buxton, Ontario

After the Underground Railroad: Mapping the Networks of African North Americans (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: After the Underground Railroad: Mapping the Networks of African North Americans
Author: Adam Arenson
Abstract: The history of the lives after the Underground Railroad has not received enough attention. My current research considers those African North Americans who crossed the U.S.-Canada borders after 1861, in either direction. I have pursued research in family trees, at homecoming gatherings, in Civil War pension files, archaeology and the built environment, and the U.S. and Canadian censuses. This project argues that recovering the networks of African North Americans reveals the evolution of the U.S.-Canada border regions; the historical relationships between race, citizenship, national allegiances; and the motivations for international and interregional migration, 1860-1930. I am researching the effect of repeat migration on the African North American communities throughout the Great Lakes (including Buffalo/Niagara Falls); in large cities such as Toronto, Washington, Boston, and New York; from the Eastern Canada maritime provinces; and from British Columbia. I have preliminary evidence that African North Americans were the leaders in the key Black organizations around the Great Lakes—churches, businesses, schools, labor unions, and fraternal organizations—when the Great Migration brought huge numbers of African Americans from the South to transform these communities. The research proposed here could determine whether African North Americans were more likely to lead these communities.
Date: 9/13/2019
Primary URL: https://asalh.org/underground-railroad-training/eventschedule/
Conference Name: National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom (NTF) Program training, Niagara Falls

Crossing the Border After The Underground Railroad: African North Americans Returning From Canada (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Crossing the Border After The Underground Railroad: African North Americans Returning From Canada
Author: Adam Arenson
Abstract: After Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, hundreds of African North Americans returned to fight for the U.S. Army, and thousands more returned to the United States in the decades that followed. Time in Canada gave African North Americans the power of comparison: When struggling for access to social and political participation and economic opportunity in the United States, these individuals had a reference point in British North America (Canada), a similar but distinct Anglo-American society with a different history of slavery, emancipation, and claims for equal rights. This paper places African North American political actions, economic choices, and cultural arguments within a transnational context, placing their migration among the more familiar stories of African Americans. It suggests a new understanding of the source of political and cultural currents in U.S. history from the beginnings of the Underground Railroad to the death of the emancipation generation (roughly 1830-1920), including for prominent leaders such as Martin Delany, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, and Mifflin Gibbs, as well as for nearly unknown figures traced in fraternal, church, veterans’, and educational records. This paper outlines the importance of the idea, as well as the reality, of Canada for these African North Americans, and then considers why the aftermath of the well-known Underground Railroad history has received so little attention.
Date: 10/4/2019
Primary URL: https://issuu.com/asalhblackhistory/docs/2019-souvenir-journal
Conference Name: Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Charleston


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