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Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection [LC-USZ62-92579]

The Island Queen, Cincinnati

Free people of color who chose to migrate from Southern states to black communities in the North rarely chose a new location randomly. Instead, they selected destinations where they had friends, family members, or other contacts. This pattern of migration meant that entire Southern communities might be transplanted into Northern cities. But even with growing Southern communities in the North, some migrants chose to return South, while most Southerners elected to remain at home. Cincinnati, a port city on the Mississippi River, was a favorite destination. The black population formed a thriving urban community that numbered 3,700 in 1860.

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