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A Peculiar Imbalance

The Fall and Rise of Racial Equality in Minnesota, 1837–1869

2015
Author:

William D. Green

A Peculiar Imbalance

The untold story of what it meant to be a black member of early Minnesota society

A Peculiar Imbalance is the little-known history of the black experience in Minnesota in the mid-1800s, a time of dramatic change in the region. Here William D. Green examines the many racial disparities and injustices that emerged as Minnesota was transformed from a wilderness territory to a state, and the concepts of race and ethnicity grew more rigid and more arbitrary.

A concise, well-written account of changing racial consciousness.

Choice

A Peculiar Imbalance is the little-known history of the black experience in Minnesota in the mid-1800s, a time of dramatic change in the region. William D. Green explains how, as white progressive politicians pushed for statehood, black men who had been integrated members of the community, owning businesses and maintaining good relationships with their neighbors, found themselves denied the right to vote or to run for office in those same communities.

As Minnesota was transformed from a wilderness territory to a state, the concepts of race and ethnicity and the distinctions among them made by Anglo-Americans grew more rigid and arbitrary. A black man might enjoy economic success and a middle-class lifestyle but was not considered a citizen under the law. In contrast, an Irish Catholic man was able to vote—as could a mixed-blood Indian—but might find himself struggling to build a business because of the ethnic and religious prejudices of the Anglo-American community. A Peculiar Imbalance examines these disparities, reflecting on the political, social, and legal experiences of black men from 1837 to 1869, the year of black suffrage.

A Peculiar Imbalance

William D. Green is professor of history at Augsburg College. He is the author of Degrees of Freedom: The Origins of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865–1912 (Minnesota, 2015).

A Peculiar Imbalance

A concise, well-written account of changing racial consciousness.

Choice

A Peculiar Imbalance

Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface

1. So Many Borders Not Observed
2. The Story of Jim Thompson
3. The Liberal Civilization
4. A Peculiar Imbalance
5. Shake the Dust from Your Armor!
6. Divided Brethren
7. The Good Indians
8. Trouble on the Levee
9. In Relief of the Reproach of Unjust Discrimination
10. The Attainable Destiny
11. “Your Race Is Now on Trial!:

Notes
Index