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We Will Be Satisfied With Nothing LessThe African American Struggle for Equal Rights in the North during Reconstruction$
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Hugh Davis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450099

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450099.001.0001

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Launching the Equal Rights Movement

Launching the Equal Rights Movement

(p.6) 1 Launching the Equal Rights Movement
We Will Be Satisfied With Nothing Less

Hugh Davis

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the factors that motivated northern African Americans to launch the equal rights movement and establish the National Equal Rights League (NERL) late in the Civil War. It also investigates the broad areas of agreement among these activists as well as the issues that divided them. The Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League (PSERL)—one of the most active and influential of the state equal rights organizations—serves as a case study of the cause. The PSERL represented the largest number of African Americans in any northern state. Its extant records are also far more complete than those of the NERL or any of its other state auxiliaries. An examination of these records and those of other state equal rights groups provides valuable insights into the strategy, agenda, progress, and problems of the movement, especially during the second half of the 1860s.

Keywords:   northern African Americans, equal rights movement, National Equal Rights League, Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League, citizenship rights

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