North Star Country is the story of the remarkable transformation of Upstate New York’s famous ‘Burned-over District;’ where the flames of religious revival sparked an abolitionist movement that eventually burst into the conflagration of the Civil War.
Milton C. Sernett details the regional presence of African Americans from the pre-Revolutionary War era through the Civil War, both as champions of liberty and as beneficiaries of a humanitarian spirit generated from evangelical impulses. He includes in his narrative the struggles of great abolitionists—among them Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Gerrit Smith, Beriah Green, Jermain Loguen, and Samuel May—and of many lesser-known characters who rescued fugitives from slave hunters, maintained safe houses along the Underground Railroad, and otherwise furthered the cause of freedom both regionally and in the nation as a whole.
Sernett concludes with a compelling examination of the moral choices made during the Civil War by upstate New Yorkers—both black and white—and of the post-Appomattox campaign to secure freedom for the newly emancipated.
Milton C. Sernett is professor emeritus of African American studies and history at Syracuse University. He is the author of Abolition’s Axe: Beriah Green, Oneida Institute, and the Black Freedom Struggle and Harriet Tubman: Myth, Memory, and History.