This book closely examines the experiences of African-Americans in Montgomery County, Virginia, (where Christiansburg and Blacksburg are located) during the 40 years after Emancipation. It was during this time that African-Americans established enduring families, businesses, and other institutions needed to navigate within the relative freedom of their newfound status. “Facing Freedom is a rich, humane, and inspiring story of accomplishment in the face of poverty and constraint. The research is ingenious, the conclusions powerful and persuasive, using one place to illuminate the lives of many.” – Edward L. Ayers. “Facing Freedom offers a detailed look at the lives of Montgomery County’s African Americans as they voted, fought for schools, built churches bought land, and experienced the heartbreak of the arrival of Jim Crow. Rejecting or expanding upon a host of existing scholarly conclusions based on scattered sources, Daniel Thorp draws on rich local archives which offer an unbroken record of fifty years of tumultuous interracial politics and black community-building. A lucid and moving contribution to the history of Virginia and southern Appalachia. – Jane Dailey. The author, Daniel B. Thorp, is a history professor and administrator at Virginia Tech in Montgomery County.
Charlottesville: The University of Virginia Press, 2017. 294 pages with an Index, Bibliography, Notes, graphs, maps and photos. Hardback in dust jacket, $39.95