What contemporary historians aptly discern as an unprecedented surge of hostility against blacks in the urban North in the 1820s—grounded in new scalings of the meaning of white and black—was in fact rooted fundamentally in more than just race and newly aggressive racialized thinking. That surge can actually be understood as one vital facet of an increased hostility toward the laboring poor as a whole once that racialized hostility is placed more expressly within the broad context of the profound transformations that the launch of industrial capitalism in these centers wrought upon work, space, and class. As elites in New Haven, Connecticut, sought to dislocate a black neighborhood that by 1825 also included white laboring poor and transients from the center of a district that early manufacturing was rapidly transforming, they evinced this new racialized hostility. This essay probes these events and interprets them explicitly in terms of this broader context of emerging industrial capitalism.

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