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Sick from Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction

Jim Downs


Bondspeople who fled from slavery during and after the Civil War did not expect that their flight toward freedom would lead to sickness, disease, suffering, and death. But the war produced the largest biological crisis of the nineteenth century, and this book reveals, it had deadly consequences for hundreds of thousands of freed people. The book recovers the untold story of one of the bitterest ironies in American history—that the emancipation of the slaves, seen as one of the great turning points in U.S. history, had devastating consequences for innumerable freedpeople. Drawing on new researc ... More

Keywords: bondspeople, slavery, Civil War, American history, emancipation, African Americans, Reconstruction, American West, Native Americans

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780199758722
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199758722.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jim Downs, author
Connecticut College, New York, NY, Assistant Professor of History and American Studies