Them Dark Days: Slavery in the American Rice Swamps

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University of Georgia Press, 2000 - History - 556 pages
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Them Dark Days is a study of the callous, capitalistic nature of the vast rice plantations along the southeastern coast. It is essential reading for anyone whose view of slavery’s horrors might be softened by the current historical emphasis on slave community and family and slave autonomy and empowerment.

Looking at Gowrie and Butler Island plantations in Georgia and Chicora Wood in South Carolina, William Dusinberre considers a wide range of issues related to daily life and work there: health, economics, politics, dissidence, coercion, discipline, paternalism, and privilege. Based on overseers’ letters, slave testimonies, and plantation records, Them Dark Days offers a vivid reconstruction of slavery in action and casts a sharp new light on slave history.

  

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Contents

Gentleman Capitalists
3
Manigaults and Heywards
28
The Charnel House
48
Unhappy Families
84
Dissidence
122
Privilege
178
Frances Kemble
213
Mothers and Children
235
Coercion
302
Privileged Slaves
319
White Supremacy and Paternalist Theory
350
The Rice Kingdom
387
Retrospect
417
Slavery
429
Appendixes
437
Notes
463

Degradation
248
Morale
265
The Capitalist as Rice Planter
285

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Page 540 - Eugene Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made (New York, 1974), especially pp. 285-398. On the powerful family solidarity among enslaved Afro-Americans, see Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll, pp. 450-535; John W. Blassingame, The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Ante-Bellum South...

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About the author (2000)

William Dusinberre is Reader Emeritus in American History at the University of Warwick. He is the author of Henry Adams: The Myth of Failure and Civil War Issues in Philadelphia, 1856-1865.

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