A Peculiar Imbalance is the little-kwn history of the black experience in Minnesota in the mid-1800s, a time of dramatic change in the region. William D. Green explains how, as white progressive politicians pushed for statehood, black men who had been integrated members of the community, owning businesses and maintaining good relationships with their neighbors, found themselves denied the right to vote or to run for office in those same communities.As Minnesota was transformed from a wilderness territory to a state, the concepts of race and ethnicity and the distinctions among them made by Anglo-Americans grew more rigid and arbitrary. A black man might enjoy ecomic success and a middle-class lifestyle but was t considered a citizen under the law. In contrast, an Irish Catholic man was able to vote--as could a mixed-blood Indian--but might find himself struggling to build a business because of the ethnic and religious prejudices of the Anglo-American community. A Peculiar Imbalance examines these disparities, reflecting on the political, social, and legal experiences of black men from 1837 to 1869, the year of black suffrage.
William D. Green is professor of history at Augsburg College. He is the author of Degrees of Freedom: The Origins of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865-1912 (Minnesota, 2015).