"Myne Owne Ground": Race and Freedom on Virginia's Eastern Shore, 1640-1676 / Edition 25

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Overview

Ever since its publication twenty-five years ago, "Myne Owne Ground" has challenged readers to rethink much of what is taken for granted about American race relations.
During the earliest decades of Virginia history, some men and women who arrived in the New World as slaves achieved freedom and formed a stable community on the Eastern shore. Holding their own with white neighbors for much of the 17th century, these free blacks purchased freedom for family members, amassed property, established plantations, and acquired laborers. T.H. Breen and Stephen Innes reconstruct a community in which ownership of property was as significant as skin color in structuring social relations. Why this model of social interaction in race relations did not survive makes this a critical and urgent work of history.
In a new foreword, Breen and Innes reflect on the origins of this book, setting it into the context of Atlantic and particularly African history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This fascinating account proves that for a couple of generations in seventeenth-century Virginia the two races lived fairly comfortably side by side....It is an extraordinary and convincing story."—The New York Review of Books

"[Breen and Innes] have pieced together sufficient details relating to the lives of some of these blacks to establish firstly that skin colour was not originally an absolute impediment to social advancement, and secondly that the white immigrant population on Virginia's eastern shore were not averse to accepting as social equals blacks who had recently purchased their freedom from slavery."—The Historical Journal

"A thorough exploitation of available sources coupled with a sophisticated understanding of the difficult issues confronting those trying to unravel the complexities of early American race relations....[Breen and Innes] have reminded us of forgotten alternatives in this society's racial odyssey."—The Journal of Southern History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195175370
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/16/2004
  • Edition description: 25th Anniversary Edition
  • Edition number: 25
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 509,959
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Northwestern University

University of Virginia

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Table of Contents

Preface to the 25th anniversary edition : the free black planters of Pungoteague Creek in an Atlantic world
1 Patriarch on Pungoteague Creek 7
2 Race relations as status and process 19
3 Northampton County at mid-century 36
4 The free blacks of the eastern shore 68
5 Conclusion : property and the context of freedom 110
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