Chapter 2 discusses the process of emancipation in western North Carolina. In 1860, African Americans constituted only 10.2 percent of the mountain counties’ total inhabitants. In terms of their desires, however, members of the black minority pursued goals comparable to their peers in the plantation South. Reuniting families, securing land and employment, and getting an education figured ... [Show full abstract] prominently in their understanding of freedom. The mountains did pose some challenges. The smaller black population and the small county seats offered less in the way of urban areas for former slaves. Such urban areas proved invaluable to community building in the plantation South. Smaller population size also informed the type of labor opportunities available. An antebellum tradition of sharecropping in the mountains helped speed the section’s transition from slavery to sharecropping after the war. As in other sections of the South, their efforts to establish their independence generated a variety of reactions ranging from acceptance to bloodshed.