|| The story of the African American journey from slavery to freedom usually begins with heroic abolitionists, peaks with emancipation during the Civil War, and trails off amid Reconstruction's violence. Here, historian Stephen Kantrowitz redefines our understanding of this entire era by showing that the fight to abolish slavery was always part of a much broader campaign by African Americans to claim full citizenship and to remake the white republic into a place where they could belong. Kantrowitz chronicles this epic struggle through the lives of black and white activists in and around Boston, including both famous reformers and lesser-known but equally important figures. While these freedom fighters have traditionally been called abolitionists, their goals and achievements went far beyond emancipation. Calling themselves "colored citizens," they fought to establish themselves in American public life, both by building their own institutions and by fiercely challenging proslavery laws and practices of exclusion. They knew that equal citizenship meant something far beyond freedom: not only rights, but also acceptance, inclusion and respect.--From publisher description.