Emancipation in Virginia's Tobacco Belt, 1850-1870

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An important contribution to the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction era, this book reveals the crucial and remarkably varied roles that African-Americans in Virginia's tobacco belt played in the momentous changes wrought by the transition from slavery to freedom. The state with the largest number of slaves on the eve of the Civil War, Virginia had undergone a peculiar set of economic developments that made its black population, both enslaved and free, especially diverse. A significant minority had made ...
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Athens, Georgia, U.S.A. 1992 Hardcover New in New jacket Book New in shrinkwrap.

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Maps GA 1992 Hard Cover First Edition Brand New in Brand New jacket 8vo-over 7?"-9?" tall. Brand new in shrinkwrap. Photo is taken of another brand new copy we unwrapped. 318pp ... plus index. Two Maps: (1) Virginia Regions in the 1850s; (2) Tobacco Belt Counties in the 1850s. Appendix: Virginia Counties By Region. An important work on the freedom of slaves in Virginia. Read more Show Less

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Overview

An important contribution to the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction era, this book reveals the crucial and remarkably varied roles that African-Americans in Virginia's tobacco belt played in the momentous changes wrought by the transition from slavery to freedom. The state with the largest number of slaves on the eve of the Civil War, Virginia had undergone a peculiar set of economic developments that made its black population, both enslaved and free, especially diverse. A significant minority had made contact, typically through slave hiring, with a form of wage labor; still others had engaged in independent production and exchange. Because they shared their experiences with the slave majority who remained on the plantations and farms, hired slaves and independent producers helped create a nascent antebellum market culture, which in turn both undermined and buttressed slavery, laid the foundation for Confederate defeat, and influenced the introduction of free labor in the immediate postemancipation period. Basing her study on extensive research in letters, family papers, and public documents, Lynda J. Morgan traces the complexities of the story from the prewar decade, when Virginia's plantation heartland served as a hired slave-labor reserve for its eastern industry and private households; through secession and the Civil War, when Virginia Confederates failed to adapt African-American labor to their wartime purposes; and, finally, to emancipation and its aftermath, when freed slaves in the tobacco belt infused, with varying degrees of success, their previous knowledge and experience into the state's postwar economy, which was moving toward unbridled capitalist development. Morgan demonstrates that by marketing their labor many former slaves successfully imposed some of their preindustrial notions of property and work upon the new pattern. Thus, freed slaves in the Virginia tobacco belt were often able to adapt to postwar conditions more rapidly than th
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This is a scholarly examination of slavery in Virginia's tobacco region at the time of the Civil War. Particular emphasis is given to how the ``hired slave,'' through contact with the wider world, became prepared to meet the economic changes caused by the war and by emancipation. Also detailed are the effects of slavery on Virginia's decision to secede, on the war itself, and on the tacit alliance between the Freedman's Bureau and conservative elements to force freed people to reenter agriculture as hired laborers after the war. Although not written for a general audience, this is a useful book for academic libraries.-- Robert A. Curtis, Taylor Memorial P.L., Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Booknews
Based on letters, family papers, and public documents, examines the features of slave society before and during the Civil War that shaped the change to wage labor and a market economy during the Reconstruction period. Particularly describes how many slaves were familiar with the concepts of capitalism because of the practice of slave hiring, and because they had engaged in independent production and exchange. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820314150
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/1992
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.35 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Slavery and the Regional Economy
1 The Regional Economy of the Tobacco Belt: The Economic and Demographic Context 17
2 Slavery at the Core: Farms and Plantations in the Tobacco Belt 33
3 Slavery on the Edge: Hiring and Antebellum Tenantry 57
Pt. 2 Behind the Lines: African-Virginian Labor and Confederate Defeat
4 Getting to Work in Dead Earnest: Slavery, Politics, and Secession 79
5 Labor Policy in Confederate Virginia: The Contradictions of Unfree Labor 87
6 "Dis Is Your Labor an' Not Deirs": Up-Country African-Virginian Labor and Confederate Defeat 105
Pt. 3 Reconstruction
7 Finding the Contours of Freedom: Freedpeople, Planters, and the Freedpeople's Bureau in 1865 127
8 "Irreclaimable 'Mauvais Sujets'": Presidential Reconstruction 151
9 Up-Country Radicals and Biracial Alliances: When "Isms Crept In" 160
10 Freedom's Institutions: The Political Intersections of Families, Schools, and Churches 171
11 Striking the Next-Best Bargain: Sharecropping, Renting, and Landownership 187
12 Factories, Land, and Labor, 1870-1880: Census Reports and the Transformation of the Regional Economy 197
13 Fusion and the Failure of Virginia Reconstruction, 1869-1870 210
Conclusion 222
Appendix: Virginia Counties by Region 229
Abbreviations 231
Notes 233
Bibliography 287
Index 319
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