Lehman pens slavery book

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Book cover from

Book cover from "Slavery in the Upper Mississippi Valley, 1787-1865" by Chris Lehman.

Photo of Christopher P. Lehman, professor and scholar Book cover from  

Cultural scholar Chris Lehman's new book on slavery in the upper Midwest is expected on book shelves this month.

"Slavery in the Upper Mississippi Valley, 1787-1865" documents the persistence of slavery in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin through the end of the Civil War.

Although African American slavery was banned in the region in 1787, slaves were held here by soldiers and federal officials.

Notably, Dred Scott and his family were in bondage to a U.S. Army physician at Fort Snelling in present-day Minneapolis.

Scott's suit for freedom was rejected in a landmark Supreme Court case that declared African Americans were not protected by the Constitution and could not be U.S. citizens.

Slaves also accompanied southerners traveling to the region. East Coast entrepreneurs started pro-slavery riverfront communities in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota to woo vacationing slaveholders.

Lehman's research includes details on Mary Butler and other slaves who lived in St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids in the mid-19th century. 

The illustrated 224-page softcover book is published by McFarland & Company, a North Carolina imprint known for its scholarly titles. 

Lehman, a professor of ethnic studies, has authored “A Critical History of Soul Train on Television,” “The Colored Cartoon: Black Representation in American Animated Short Films” and “American Animated Cartoons of the Vietnam Era.” View his Amazon page.

"The Colored Cartoon" was honored by the Association of College and Research Libraries as an outstanding academic title in 2008.

Lehman coordinates the African American Studies minor at St. Cloud State and is the former faculty adviser for the African American Students Council on campus. A St. Cloud resident, he holds a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.


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