Christy Clark-Pujara, PhD: “Black on the Midwestern Frontier: From Slavery to Suffrage in Wisconsin”

April 18th, 2019

Gender & Women’s Studies
Spring 2019

Christy Clark-Pujara, PhD
Associate Professor and Anna Julia Cooper Fellow
Department of Afro-American Studies

“Black on the Midwestern Frontier: From Slavery to Suffrage in Wisconsin”

Black Americans were a tiny minority in Wisconsin territory and later the state; nevertheless, the practice of race-based slavery and anxieties about black migrants led white Wisconsinites to dispute abolition and the rights of black residents. In the mid-nineteenth century, fugitive slaves passing through Wisconsin were often met with assistance, while black permanent residents were socially and politically marginalized. Enslaved and free black people lived, labored, and raised families on the Wisconsin frontier; they called Prairie du Chien, Racine, Green Bay, Lancaster, Milwaukee, Madison and Menominee home. Yet their stories remain largely untold and history of the state and the region remains incomplete without a full accounting of the African American experience and influence.

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