Faculty Research Talk with Dennis Halpin
Title: A brotherhood of Liberty: Baltimore's Place in the Long Black Freedom Struggle
On June 2, 1885, Reverend Harvey Johnson called five of his fellow clergymen and close confidants to his Baltimore home. During the previous year, Johnson had orchestrated challenges to public transportation segregation and Maryland's prohibition on black attorneys. Now he hoped to accelerate the fight for racial equality by forming Baltimore's first civil rights organization, the Mutual United Brotherhood of Liberty. The formation of the Brotherhood of Liberty stands as a pivotal moment in the history of the black freedom struggle. Active between 1885 and 1891, the Brotherhood was not only Baltimore's first civil rights organization but also one of the first in the nation. The group organized independently, demanded the fulfillment of the Constitution's promises of civil rights, and aggressively challenged discrimination. Their vision for racial equality, their strategies, and uncompromising demand for civil rights, set the foundation for later national groups like the Afro-American League and the Niagara Movement. They also altered the course of civil rights in Baltimore and Maryland. My paper examines the group's formation and their impact on the long black freedom struggle.
Dennis Patrick Halpin specializes in 19th and 20th century US history with a focus on race and activism in the urban world. His forthcoming book, A Brotherhood of Liberty: Black Reconstruction and its Legacies in Baltimore, 1865-1920, examines a critical moment in the nation's history when one of the post Emancipation civil rights movements took hold.
Lunch is provided.