Black Slaveowners: Free Black Slave Masters in South Carolina, 1790-1860 / Edition 1

Black Slaveowners: Free Black Slave Masters in South Carolina, 1790-1860 / Edition 1

by Larry Koger
     
 

ISBN-10: 1570030375

ISBN-13: 9781570030376

Pub. Date: 02/28/1995

Publisher: University of South Carolina Press

Most Americans, both black and white, believe that slavery was a system exclusively maintained by whites to exploit blacks, but Larry Koger's authoritative study reveals the extent to which African Americans played a significant role as slave masters in the peculiar institution. By examining South Carolina's diverse population of African-American slaveowners, Koger

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Overview

Most Americans, both black and white, believe that slavery was a system exclusively maintained by whites to exploit blacks, but Larry Koger's authoritative study reveals the extent to which African Americans played a significant role as slave masters in the peculiar institution. By examining South Carolina's diverse population of African-American slaveowners, Koger 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, Koger sheds light on the nature of African-American slaveholding, its complexity, and its rationales. He describes how some African-American masters earned their freedom but how many others—primarily mulattoes—were unfamiliar with slavery's dehumanization because they were born of free parents.

Koger reveals the caste system that existed within the antebellum African-American community—one in which prosperous mulattoes and African Americans of lighter skin sought to separate themselves from those held in bondage. Koger challenges the notion that most African-American slaveholders were benevolent owners who purchased the freedom of relatives. Instead he shows that while some did buy family members and other slaves for humanitarian reasons, African Americans in South Carolina acquired slaves primarily because they had little access to other sources of labor and because they viewed slaveowning as a means of elevating themselves above the masses.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570030376
Publisher:
University of South Carolina Press
Publication date:
02/28/1995
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
300
Product dimensions:
6.07(w) x 9.18(h) x 0.93(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
List of Tables
Foreword
Introduction1
Ch. 1Free Black Slaveholding and the Federal Census5
Ch. 2The Numbers and Distribution of Black Slaveholding18
Ch. 3From Slavery to Freedom to Slaveownership31
Ch. 4"Buying My Chidrum from Ole Massa"45
Ch. 5Neither a Slave Nor a Free Person69
Ch. 6The Woodson Thesis: Fact or Fiction?80
Ch. 7White Rice, White Cotton, Brown Planters, Black Slaves102
Ch. 8Free Black Artisans: A Need for Labor140
Ch. 9The Denmark Vesey Conspiracy: Brown Masters vs. Black Slaves160
Ch. 10No More Black Massa187
Appendix A. Tables for Chapter One201
Appendix B. Table for Chapter Two209
Appendix C. Tables for Chapter Six231
Notes235
Index275

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