Review by Choice Review
Tomek (Wharton County Junior College, Texas) provides the best work to date on the varieties of antislavery in antebellum Philadelphia. Her argument is that the polarities that contemporaries and historians have seen between immediatism and gradualism and between colonizationists and radical abolitionists were not true of Pennsylvania. Here, the gradualist Pennsylvania Abolition Society, the immediatist Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, the Pennsylvania Colonization Society, and free blacks found ways to work together against slavery and for racial justice, even as they sometimes sharply disagreed on ends and means. Tomek focuses on colonization. She finds that most Pennsylvania colonizationists, in contrast to those in the slave states, were genuinely opposed to slavery and saw colonization as a way to hasten emancipation. The author is sensitive to nuance--she finds that even radical Pennsylvania abolitionists sometimes patronized black people, and colonizationists were willing to play on fears of a growing free black population. The result is a study that has much to say about the complexity of the antebellum antislavery movement, and deepens understanding of colonization and its implications for the broad range of opponents of slavery, white and black. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. T. D. Hamm Earlham College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.