A new wave historian mines previously unexamined documents of the Amite county seat courthouse (Liberty, MS) in relating the lives of black Americans under and freed from slavery. Main foci are: slave law, gender issues, local churches, the "troubles" of 1861-65 as related in a slaveowner's diary with references to his black slave overseer, and emancipation. Appends "The Legacy of Irris Bonner Harris" from The Southern Review, vol. 26, no. 4, October 1990. Developed from an award-nominated doctoral dissertation (1993, institution unspecified). Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.