Black Slaveowners: Free Black Slave Masters in South Carolina, 1790-1860

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McFarland, Nov 18, 2011 - Social Science - 300 pages
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Most Americans, both black and white, believe that slavery was a system maintained by whites to exploit blacks, but this authoritative study reveals the extent to which African Americans played a significant role as slave masters. Examining South Carolina's diverse population of African-American slaveowners, the book demonstrates that free African Americans widely embraced slavery as a viable economic system and that they--like their white counterparts--exploited the labor of slaves on their farms and in their businesses. Drawing on the federal census, wills, mortgage bills of sale, tax returns, and newspaper advertisements, the author reveals the nature of African-American slaveholding, its complexity, and its rationales. He describes how some African-American slave masters had earned their freedom but how many others--primarily mulattoes born of free parents--were unfamiliar with slavery's dehumanization.
 

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Contents

Free Black Slaveholding and the Federal Census
5
The Numbers and Distribution of Black Slaveholding
18
From Slavery to Freedom to Slaveownership
31
Buying My Chidrum from Ole Massa
45
Neither a Slave Nor a Free Person
69
The Woodson Thesis Fact or Fiction?
80
White Rice White Cotton Brown Planters Black Slaves
102
Free Black Artisans A Need for Labor
140
The Denmark Vesey Conspiracy Brown Masters vs Black Slaves
160
No More Black Massa
187
Appendix A
201
Appendix B
209
Appendix C
231
Notes
235
Index
275
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Page 12 - The condition of the individual is not to be determined solely by distinct and visible mixture of negro blood, but by reputation, by his reception into society, and his having commonly exercised the privileges of a white man.
Page 12 - ... a man of worth should have the rank of a white man, while a vagabond of the same degree of blood should be confined to the inferior caste.

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About the author (2011)

Historian Larry Koger lives in Largo, Maryland.

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