208 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 10 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6323-4
Published: June 2021
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6322-7
Published: June 2021
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-6324-1
Published: April 2021
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Awards & distinctions
2022 First Book Award, The Library Company of Philadelphia
Reading her sources against the grain, Webster reveals a complex reality for antebellum Black children. Lacking societal status, they nevertheless found meaningful agency as historical actors, making the most of the limited freedoms and possibilities they enjoyed.
About the Author
Crystal Lynn Webster is assistant professor of history at the University of British Columbia.
For more information about Crystal Lynn Webster, visit the Author Page.
"In this engaging and innovative work, Dr. Crystal Lynn Webster begins the crucial work of filling the gaps in knowledge about Black children in the antebellum era."—Ms. Magazine
“Webster offers glimpses of children who are rarely featured in histories of the Civil War era . . . It is certain that this book will inspire many scholars in African American and Childhood Studies to continue down the path that Webster illuminates so creatively.”—Civil War Book Review
“This concise, gracefully written book, with its tight temporal and geographic focus, is an essential historical contribution and an invitation to future research about northern Black children and the states of unfreedom that shaped their reality.”—Early American Literature
"With a novel and important focus on the construction of Black childhood in the antebellum North, Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood prompts us to rethink the construction of childhood and the experiences of Black children and their parents in northern cities."--Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Rutgers University
“A remarkable book that speaks to some of the most enduring questions in African American history and politics: what is the meaning of freedom? Is ‘free’ really free? How have Black families navigated institutionalized racism that seeks to undermine their intimate ties? By placing Black children and mothers at the center of her work, Crystal Webster unearths histories that too often have remained invisible.”--LaKisha Michelle Simmons, University of Michigan
"Webster's innovative and beautifully written book demonstrates how Black children in the antebellum North claimed freedom and redefined childhood as they played, worked, and moved through the built environment of schools, orphanages, and city streets. With nuanced attention to material realities and imaginative worlds, Webster brilliantly reveals Black children's contributions to the political struggle for equality and human liberation.”--Corinne Field, University of Virginia