Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2009 Ben Hopkins. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department

First Advisor

Allison Dorsey


In his thesis, Hopkins examines the struggle for freedom, economic independence, and identity in the African-American community of Butler County, Pennsylvania from 1790-1890. He approaches this through both the experiences of atypical individuals and larger trends in the community. Hopkins is particularly interested in the complications of boundaries, whether between north and south, black and white, free and slave, etc. This thesis is based on census and tax records, property records, Civil War pension files, newspaper articles, local histories, and secondary sources.


Co-recipient of the History 91 Prize, awarded in 2009.