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On Jordan's Banks: Emancipation and Its Aftermath in the Ohio River Valley

by Darrel E. Bigham

Availableweb pdf$50.00x 978-0-8131-4759-8
Availablecloth$50.00x 978-0-8131-2366-0
Ohio River Valley Series
456 pages  Pubdate: 07/11/2014  6 x 9  illus, map

The cloth edition is currently being discounted by 20% as part of our warehouse sale. Use code FHOL and FSNO at checkout to receive sale prices.

This comprehensive history examines communities on the northern and southern shores of the Ohio River that developed as a consequence of the Civil War. Darrel E. Bigham describes how these communities were shaped by the presence or absence of slavery and how the abolition of slavery and the rise of free labor became the rule of law on both banks. Focusing on this critical period of vast social, economic, and political change, Bigham demonstrates that African Americans on both sides of the river made remarkable advances in spite of being offered little with which to make a meaningful new start. Emancipation brought about the formation of numerous communities that provided shelter and fueled the African American struggle for equality.

There is simply an overwhelming amount of information packed into this fascinating book. -- AfroAmericanHeritage.com

Bigham's careful study of African American life between 1860 and 1880 subtly reminds scholars that the Lower Ohio is important. -- American Historical Review

Successfully illustrates that African Americans did more than just survive slavery, the Civil War, and emancipation; they carved out their own destinies. . . . Highly recommended. -- Choice

A valuable addition to the existing literature of the settlement of the Ohio River Valley. It fills a gap left by the exclusion of the African American experience in previous historical works. -- History

Brings together an impressive array of secondary sources and supplements these with original research into census materials, tax records, and other primary documents. -- Indiana Magazine of History

Bigham explores churches, schools, jobs, politics, families, and the varieties of everyday African American life to offer fascinating insights into the changing reality of American ideals of equality. -- James H. Madison, author of A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in Ame

In this fine study of African American life in the 19th -century Ohio Valley, historian Darrell Bigham adds another chapter to our understanding of this important region in U. S. history. Whereas most scholars have focused primarily on the larger urban centers, Bigham illuminates the experiences of blacks in little known towns and cities all along the Ohio River. As such, he also opens up prospects for exciting new research on this subject. -- Joe W. Trotter, author of River Jordan: African American Urban Life in the Ohio

An important resource for those interested in the collective history of African Americans in the Ohio Valley. -- John A. Hardin, Western Kentucky University

Unlike other studies that have focused exclusively upon the racial dynamics of large metropolitan areas like Cincinnati, Bigham finds potent history in small places as he traces the transition from antebellum slavery to postemancipation freedom in the town and villages where relationship could hold more sway than rhetoric. -- Journal of Illinois History

[A] fine study of African American life on the nineteenth century's great 'Borderland'...This is regionalism of the most valuable kind, defining a region that since the Civil War has been largely subsumed by the Midwest north of the river and the South below it. Bigham's study challengesthose regional distinctions, at least in the matters of race and culture. -- Ohio History

Expands our understanding of a complex topic, as it rejects the Ohio River as a divide but instead makes it the center of a vast region for examining black/white relationships. -- Thomas L. Owen, Archivist for Local History, University Archives, University of

In arguing [his] point quite persuasively, Bigham, like Joe William Trotter, forces scholars to reconceptualize the Ohio River Valley and the notion of borderlands in American history. There is much to applaud in Bigham’s exhaustive study. This is an important and useful work and will cause historians and the public to continue the re-evaluation of the Ohio River Valley’s transformation during the nineteenth centure, the meaning of emancipation for African Americans, and the ways that blacks attempted, and in many cases succeeded, to advance as a group on both sides of the Ohio. All scholars interested in African American history, the Ohio River Valley, and urbanization, should read this fascinating book. -- James M. Beeby, Indiana University Southeast, Ohio Valley History

"Much demographic information is relayed in the text, and a series of useful tables in the appendix denotes population shifts and the groth of African American communities. These same demographics may make On Jordan's Banks a challenging study for the general reader, but scholars interested in regional history will find that Bigham has succeeded in bringing together a host of secondary sources and community studies to offer a clear picture of African American life in the lower Ohio Valley. Although one could argue that the book contains little new information because it is not based soly on original research, those who study the black experience in the Midwest and the Upper South will find much fodder here." -- West Virginia History

“[A] meticulously researched and lucidly written volume.”“A fine study that adds much to our knowledge of African American life in the 19th century Ohio Valley River region, a topic that until recently has received only scant attention from scholars. Whereas many historians have focused primarily on the larger cities, Bigham discusses, in great detail, the experiences of Black Americans in little-known and obscure towns and cities. For this reason alone, he should be greatly commended.”“This volume clearly enhances out understanding of the important and complex history of the Ohio Valley region as well as the nature of race relations in the United States overtime.”—Dr. Eric Jackson -- Dr. Eric Jackson

“An important and useful work and will cause historians and the public to continue the re-evaluation of the Ohio River Valley’s transformation during the nineteenth century, the meaning of emancipation for African Americans, and the ways that blacks attempted, and in many cases succeeded, to advance as a group on both sides of the Ohio. All scholars interested in African American history, the Ohio River Valley, and urbanization should read this fascinating book.”—Ohio Valley History

Finalist for the Governor's Award given by the Kentucky Historical Society.

finalists for the Governor’s Award given by the Kentucky Historical Society