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

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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 ...

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

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Choice
artfully demonstrates the full extent
Charleston News & Courier
a valuable reference work...powerful history...well done
The Journal of Southern History
thought-provoking study
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570030376
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 6.07 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Historian Larry Koger lives in Largo, Maryland.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
List of Tables
Foreword
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 Free Black Slaveholding and the Federal Census 5
Ch. 2 The Numbers and Distribution of Black Slaveholding 18
Ch. 3 From Slavery to Freedom to Slaveownership 31
Ch. 4 "Buying My Chidrum from Ole Massa" 45
Ch. 5 Neither a Slave Nor a Free Person 69
Ch. 6 The Woodson Thesis: Fact or Fiction? 80
Ch. 7 White Rice, White Cotton, Brown Planters, Black Slaves 102
Ch. 8 Free Black Artisans: A Need for Labor 140
Ch. 9 The Denmark Vesey Conspiracy: Brown Masters vs. Black Slaves 160
Ch. 10 No More Black Massa 187
Appendix A. Tables for Chapter One 201
Appendix B. Table for Chapter Two 209
Appendix C. Tables for Chapter Six 231
Notes 235
Index 275
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