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

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

by Larry Koger


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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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786469314
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 11/18/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 300
Sales rank: 613,559
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Historian Larry Koger lives in Largo, Maryland.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

List of Tables xi

Foreword Xlll

Introduction 1

1. Free Black Slaveholding and the Federal Census 5

2. The Numbers and Distribution of Black Slaveholding 18

3. From Slavery to Freedom to Slaveownership 31

4. “Buying My Chidrum from Ole Massa” 45

5. Neither a Slave Nor a Free Person 69

6. The Woodson Thesis: Fact or Fiction? 80

7. White Rice, White Cotton, Brown Planters, Black Slaves 102

8. Free Black Artisans: A Need for Labor 140

9. The Denmark Vesey Conspiracy: Brown Masters vs. Black Slaves 160

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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