Surveillance and Patrol: The African American Experience on the Streets of Antebellum and Civil War St. Louis

Friday, January 6, 2017: 9:30 AM
Centennial Ballroom G (Hyatt Regency Denver)
Sharon Elizabeth Romeo, University of Alberta
Sharon Romeo will analyze the histories of surveillance, patrol, and violence in antebellum and Civil War St. Louis. The experience of enslaved and free African Americans in antebellum cities was marked by the surveillance practices instrumental to municipal policing. Legal codes, including the licensing of free African Americans, regulated their public gatherings and restricted their ability to travel unmolested through the city streets. Battles over public space took on increasing importance as African Americans used city streets to contest meanings of freedom and citizenship during the era of emancipation. Both the police and white civilians responded by participating in the aggressive surveillance and arrest of African Americans walking on the streets of St. Louis. Legal narratives document the resistance against racial discipline employed by African Americans through both civil and military court systems.
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