African Americans in the Colonial Era: From African Origins through the American Revolution, 3rd Edition / Edition 3

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Over recent decades few topics of American history have beensubject to greater attention and more thorough revision thanAfrican Americans in colonial times. Acclaimed works by leadingscholars, relying on new bodies of evidence and writing from afresh, Atlantic perspective, have provided a broadened, morenuanced view of the topic. In this third edition of one of the mostpopular books in our American History Series, Donald Wright worksnew interpretations into a narrative that provides a clearunderstanding of the scope and nature of the early African-Americanexperience. Included are discussions of African Americans’African origins; the Atlantic slave trade, based on the latest datafrom an on-line Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database; theorigins of slavery and race-based prejudice in the mainlandcolonies; the evolutionary formation of African-American culture;and the effects of the American Revolution on men and women ofAfrican descent, at the time and long thereafter.

This third edition views African Americans in the BritishNorth-American mainland colonies more as their contemporaries did:as persons from one of the four continents who interactedeconomically, socially, and politically over a period of 180 yearsin a vast, vibrant, complex Atlantic world. It shows how themainland North-American society that resulted from theseinteractions reflected the mix of Atlantic cultures and how therepublic that a group of these people eventually constructed usedEuropean ideas to support creation of a favorable situation forthose in control, persons largely of European descent. The Africanand African-American men and women, whose forebears had addedgreatly to the region’s economic and cultural viability,found themselves in 1789 with the least benefit from the nationthey helped bring into existence.

Of special value is the book’s bibliographical essay, anexpansion and updating of earlier versions that led the historianIra Berlin to label Wright “the historiographer of slavery inthe early period.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for the first edition: 

"This fine, brief survey...ought to be widely used. It offeresa balanced, up-to-date treatement of West African cultures, theAtlantic slave trade, the slow development of slavery in theEnglish colonies, the rise of racism, and the changing cultures ofAmericans in African ancestry. ... Wright has performed a realservice. ...this book is far and away the best short survey ofearly African-American history." (EthnoHistory, 1992)
"Wright provides the reader with a better understanding andconsiderable insight into the causes, consequences and conditionsof African Americans in colonial North America." (InternationalMigration Review, 1992)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780882952741
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/17/2009
  • Series: American History Series , #32
  • Edition description: 3
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 279
  • Sales rank: 782,309
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald R. Wright is Distinguished Teaching Professor ofHistory, Emeritus, at SUNY-Cortland. He is the author of AfricanAmerican in the Early Republic, 1789—1831 (1993) in theAmerican History Series and The World and a Very Small Place inAfrica: A History of Globalization in Niumi, The Gambia, 3rded. (2010), and co-author of The Atlantic World: AHistory (2007). His degrees are from DePauw University andIndiana University. He has received fellowships fromFullbright-Hays and the National Endowment for the Humanities, andin 2003 he was Scholar-in-Residence at the Rockefeller Study Centerin Bellagio, Italy. He lives in Homer, New York.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Third Edition and Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

CHAPTER ONE: Atlantic Origins 9

Atlantic Africa 13

The Atlantic Trade 25

The Slaving Voyage 46

CHAPTER TWO: Development of Slavery in Mainland North America62

The Chesapeake 66

The Low Country 80

The Lower Mississippi 92

New England and the Middle Colonies 97

Slavery and Racial Prejudice 106

CHAPTER THREE: African-American Culture 111

African in America 113

Demography, Community, and Culture 118

The Daily Toil 126

Family 138

Religion 143

Folk Culture 148

Whites and Blacks, Men and Women, Humanity and Inhumanity158

Resistance, Escape, and Rebellion 162

CHAPTER FOUR: The Revolutionary Era 173

Slavery and Ideology 175

Freedom for Some 181

Changing African-American Society 192

The Foundations of Caste 211

Securing the Blessings of Liberty 215

Epilogue 219

Bibliographical Essay 223

Index 269


Africa in the Era of the Atlantic Trade, Seventeenth andEighteenth Centuries 17

Colonies of the North American Mainland in the EighteenthCentury 65

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