Review of Cimprich, John, Navigating Liberty: Black Refugees and Antislavery Reformers in the Civil War South
Published to great fanfare in 1964, Rehearsals for Reconstruction by Willie Lee Rose has long represented the standard for scholarly works dealing with complex and troubled process of wartime emancipation. As enslaved Black Americans sought their freedom throughout the conflict, a polyglot organization of military officers, politicans, and white reformers attempted to ease the transition to freedom, though their reasons for doing so were often far from progressive. Given its scholarly importance—and the critical nature of its subject—it will come as no surprise that Rose’s work inspired dozens of subsequent monographs. The latest of these is John Cimprich’s incisive study Navigating Liberty: Black Refugees and Antislavery Reformers in the Civil War South.