The Accidental Slaveowner: Revisiting a Myth of Race and Finding an American Family

Overview

What does one contested account of an enslaved woman tell us about our difficult racial past? Part history, part anthropology, and part detective story, The Accidental Slaveowner traces, from the 1850s to the present day, how different groups of people have struggled with one powerful story about slavery.

For over a century and a half, residents of Oxford, Georgia (“the birthplace of Emory University”), have told and retold stories of the enslaved woman known as “Kitty” and her ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (6) from $17.84   
  • New (2) from $77.12   
  • Used (4) from $17.84   
The Accidental Slaveowner: Revisiting a Myth of Race and Finding an American Family

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$13.99
BN.com price
(Save 43%)$24.95 List Price

Overview

What does one contested account of an enslaved woman tell us about our difficult racial past? Part history, part anthropology, and part detective story, The Accidental Slaveowner traces, from the 1850s to the present day, how different groups of people have struggled with one powerful story about slavery.

For over a century and a half, residents of Oxford, Georgia (“the birthplace of Emory University”), have told and retold stories of the enslaved woman known as “Kitty” and her owner, Methodist bishop James Osgood Andrew, first president of Emory’s board of trustees. Bishop Andrew’s ownership of Miss Kitty and other enslaved persons triggered the 1844 great national schism of the Methodist Episcopal Church, presaging the Civil War. For many local whites, Bishop Andrew was only “accidentally” a slaveholder, and when offered her freedom, Kitty willingly remained in slavery out of loyalty to her master. Local African Americans, in contrast, tend to insist that Miss Kitty was the Bishop’s coerced lover and that she was denied her basic freedoms throughout her life.

Mark Auslander approaches these opposing narratives as “myths,” not as falsehoods but as deeply meaningful and resonant accounts that illuminate profound enigmas in American history and culture. After considering the multiple, powerful ways that the Andrew-Kitty myths have shaped perceptions of race in Oxford, at Emory, and among southern Methodists, Auslander sets out to uncover the “real” story of Kitty and her family. His years-long feat of collaborative detective work results in a series of discoveries and helps open up important arenas for reconciliation, restorative justice, and social healing.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This extraordinary book is one of the very best—and certainly the most original—anthropological and historical studies of slavery I have read. Through a combination of superb ethnography, original analysis, and painstaking archival work, Auslander tells an important and utterly compelling story. Thoughtfully organized and beautifully written, The Accidental Slaveowner will be an essential source for everyone interested in slavery and in the history of race relationships in the United States."—Rosalind Shaw, author of Memories of the Slave Trade: Ritual and the Historical Imagination in Sierra Leone

"This stunning book applies anthropological perspectives on myth and kinship to the pervasive legacy of slavery, which still dominates American understandings of race, humanity, freedom. Auslander's skilled collaboration with the descendants of 'Miss Kitty,' sometimes called 'the person who caused the civil war,' brings the unexpected story of her family to light, forging firm links across separations of black and white, slave and master, past and present. In the process, haunting fallacies are exorcised, and nagging paradoxes of blood and betrayal find voice, making possible new lines of debate, and novel pursuits of understanding, even justice."—Jean Comaroff, University of Chicago

"The Accidental Slaveowner is a beautifully written account of the complex ways in which family and institutional histories and memories of slavery are told and retold by blacks and whites in this country. At its heart is the important national story of the split of the Methodist Episcopal Church into northern and southern factions over the meaning of slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War. Mark Auslander has taken this institutional history and uncovered the personal stories of families and communities who felt and still feel the reverberations of that conflict down to the present day. With a detective’s attention to detail and a novelist’s love of people and their stories, Auslander has written a lucid, passionate work."—Leslie M. Harris, Emory University

"In 1844, a dispute over ownership of an enslaved woman named Catherine Boyd split the American Methodist Church, a fateful step on the road to secession and Civil War. In this beautiful, haunting book, Mark Auslander peels back the layers of history, memory, and myth that have grown up around 'Miss Kitty,' taking us to the heart of our nation’s conflicted racial past and present."—James T. Campbell, Edgar E. Robinson Professor in United States History, Stanford University

"Though this is a scholarly work, it offers a fascinating glimpse into a slice of Georgia history that tends to be interpreted very differently by white people and by black people. "—Teresa Weaver, Atlanta Magazine

"You will want to read The Accidental Slaveowner for the rest of the story!"—Bishop Woodie W. White, United Methodist Reporter

“Auslander’s work demonstrates how the Andrew/Kitty myth changed over time and the manner in which different versions of the story divided the white and black populations of Oxford, Georgia, where Bishop Andrew served as president of the Emory College Board of Trustees. The ending is particularly poignant and clearly demonstrates the power that involving the public in one’s own history can have.”—Choice

“[B]y tracing the current descendants of Kitty, the author has made a contribution to African American genealogy, no small undertaking.”—Loren Schweninger, Journal of American History

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820340425
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2011
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Auslander is currently a senior curatorial fellow at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington D.C. Starting September 2011, he will be associate professor of anthropology and director of the Museum of Culture and Environment at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
Prologue
Part One. Memory, Myth, and Kinship
1. The Myth of Kitty
2. Distant Kin: Slavery and Cultural Intimacy in a Georgia Community
Part Two. Slavery as a Mythical System
3. "The Tenderest Solicitude for Her Welfare": Founding Texts of the Andrew-Kitty Narrative
4. "As Free as I Am": Retelling the Narrative
5. "The Other Side of Paradise": Mythos and Memory in the Cemetery
6. "The Most Interesting Building in Georgia": The Strange Career of Kitty's Cottage
Part Three. Families Lost and Found
7. Enigmas of Kinship: Miss Kitty and Her Family
8. "Out of the Shadows": The Andrew Family Slaves
9. Saying Something Now
Appendix 1. Guide to Persons Mentioned in the Text
Appendix 2. Timeline
Appendix 3. Kitty's Possible Origins
Appendix 4. Kitty's Children
Appendix 5. The Greenwood Slaves, Postemancipation
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)