165 books about Slaves and 40 start with S
165 books about Slaves and 40 start with S
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press
This bold, innovative book promises to radically alter our understanding of the Atlantic slave trade, and the depths of its horrors. Stephanie E. Smallwood offers a penetrating look at the process of enslavement from its African origins through the Middle Passage and into the American slave market.
Smallwood's story is animated by deep research and gives us a startlingly graphic experience of the slave trade from the vantage point of the slaves themselves. Ultimately, Saltwater Slavery details how African people were transformed into Atlantic commodities in the process. She begins her narrative on the shores of seventeenth-century Africa, tracing how the trade in human bodies came to define the life of the Gold Coast. Smallwood takes us into the ports and stone fortresses where African captives were held and prepared, and then through the Middle Passage itself. In extraordinary detail, we witness these men and women cramped in the holds of ships, gasping for air, and trying to make sense of an unfamiliar sea and an unimaginable destination. Arriving in America, we see how these new migrants enter the market for laboring bodies, and struggle to reconstruct their social identities in the New World.
Throughout, Smallwood examines how the people at the center of her story-merchant capitalists, sailors, and slaves-made sense of the bloody process in which they were joined. The result is both a remarkable transatlantic view of the culture of enslavement, and a painful, intimate vision of the bloody, daily business of the slave trade.
Though centered on a single Jamaican sugar estate, Worthy Park, and dealing largely with the period of formal slavery, this book is firmly placed in far wider contexts of place and time. The "Invisible Man" of the title is found, in the end, to be not just the formal slave but the ordinary black worker throughout the history of the plantation system.
Michael Craton uses computer techniques in the first of three main parts of his study to provide a dynamic analysis of the demographic, health, and socioeconomic characteristics of the Worthy Park slaves as a whole. The surprising diversity and complex interrelation of the population are underlined in Part Two, consisting of detailed biographies of more than 40 individual members of the plantation's society, including whites and mulattoes as well as black slaves. This is the most ambitious attempt yet made to overcome the stereotyping ignorance of contemporary white writers and the muteness of the slaves themselves.
Part Three is perhaps the most original section of the book. After tracing the fate of the population between the emancipation of 1838 and the present day through genealogies and oral interviews, Craton concludes that the predominant feature of plantation life has not been change but continuity, and that the accepted definitions of slavery need considerable modification.
Sexual exploitation was and is a critical feature of enslavement. Across many different societies, slaves were considered to own neither their bodies nor their children, even if many struggled to resist. At the same time, paradoxes abound: for example, in some societies to bear the children of a master was a potential route to manumission for some women. Sex, Power, and Slavery is the first history of slavery and bondage to take sexuality seriously.
Twenty-six authors from diverse scholarly backgrounds look at the vexed, traumatic intersections of the histories of slavery and of sexuality. They argue that such intersections mattered profoundly and, indeed, that slavery cannot be understood without adequate attention to sexuality. Sex, Power, and Slavery brings into conversation historians of the slave trade, art historians, and scholars of childhood and contemporary sex trafficking. The book merges work on the Atlantic world and the Indian Ocean world and enables rich comparisons and parallels between these diverse areas.
Contributors: David Brion Davis, Martin Klein, Richard Hellie, Abdul Sheriff, Griet Vankeerberghen, E. Ann McDougall, Matthew S. Hopper, Marie Rodet, George La Rue, Ulrike Schmieder, Tara Iniss, Mariana Candido, James Francis Warren, Johanna Ransmeier, Roseline Uyanga with Marie-Luise Ermisch, Francesca Ann Louise Mitchell, Shigeru Sato, Gabeba Baderoon, Charmaine Nelson, Ana Lucia Araujo, Brian Lewis, Ronaldo Vainfas, Salah Trabelsi, Joost Coté, Sandra Evers, and Subho Basu
On February 15, 1851, Shadrach Minkins was serving breakfast at a coffeehouse in Boston when history caught up with him. The first runaway to be arrested in New England under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, this illiterate Black man from Virginia found himself the catalyst of one of the most dramatic episodes of rebellion and legal wrangling before the Civil War. In a remarkable effort of historical sleuthing, Gary Collison has recovered the true story of Shadrach Minkins’ life and times and perilous flight. His book restores an extraordinary chapter to our collective history and at the same time offers a rare and engrossing picture of the life of an ordinary Black man in nineteenth-century North America.
As Minkins’ journey from slavery to freedom unfolds, we see what day-to-day life was like for a slave in Norfolk, Virginia, for a fugitive in Boston, and for a free Black man in Montreal. Collison recreates the drama of Minkins’s arrest and his subsequent rescue by a band of Black Bostonians, who spirited the fugitive to freedom in Canada. He shows us Boston’s Black community, moved to panic and action by the Fugitive Slave Law, and the previously unknown community established in Montreal by Minkins and other refugee Blacks from the United States. And behind the scenes, orchestrating events from the disastrous Compromise of 1850 through the arrest of Minkins and the trial of his rescuers, is Daniel Webster, who through the exigencies of his dimming political career, took the role of villain.
Webster is just one of the familiar figures in this tale of an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances. Others, such as Frederick Douglass, Richard Henry Dana, Jr., Harriet Jacobs, and Harriet Beecher Stowe (who made use of Minkins’s Montreal community in Uncle Tom’s Cabin), also appear throughout the narrative. Minkins’ intriguing story stands as a fascinating commentary on the nation’s troubled times—on urban slavery and Boston abolitionism, on the Underground Railroad, and on one of the federal government’s last desperate attempts to hold the Union together.
This book is the first anthology of the autobiographical writings of Peter Randolph, a prominent nineteenth-century former slave who became a black abolitionist, pastor, and community leader.
Randolph’s story is unique because he was freed and relocated from Virginia to Boston, along with his entire plantation cohort. A lawsuit launched by Randolph against his former master’s estate left legal documents that corroborate his autobiographies.
Randolph's writings give us a window into a different experience of slavery and freedom than other narratives currently available and will be of interest to students and scholars of African American literature, history, and religious studies, as well as those with an interest in Virginia history and mid-Atlantic slavery.
Slave Emancipation in Cuba is the classic study of the end of slavery in Cuba. Rebecca J. Scott explores the dynamics of Cuban emancipation, arguing that slavery was not simply abolished by the metropolitan power of Spain or abandoned because of economic contradictions. Rather, slave emancipation was a prolonged, gradual and conflictive process unfolding through a series of social, legal, and economic transformations.
Scott demonstrates that slaves themselves helped to accelerate the elimination of slavery. Through flight, participation in nationalist insurgency, legal action, and self-purchase, slaves were able to force the issue, helping to dismantle slavery piece by piece. With emancipation, former slaves faced transformed, but still very limited, economic options. By the end of the nineteenth-century, some chose to join a new and ultimately successful rebellion against Spanish power.
In a new afterword, prepared for this edition, the author reflects on the complexities of postemancipation society, and on recent developments in historical methodology that make it possible to address these questions in new ways.
Jean Andreau and Raymond Descat break new ground in this comparative history of slavery in Greece and Rome. Focusing on slaves’ economic role in society, their crucial contributions to Greek and Roman culture, and their daily and family lives, the authors examine the different ways in which slavery evolved in the two cultures. Accessible to both scholars and students, this book provides a detailed overview of the ancient evidence and the modern debates surrounding the vast and largely invisible populations of enslaved peoples in the classical world.
Obscured from our view of slaves and masters in America is a critical third party: the state, with its coercive power. This book completes the grim picture of slavery by showing us the origins, the nature, and the extent of slave patrols in Virginia and the Carolinas from the late seventeenth century through the end of the Civil War. Here we see how the patrols, formed by county courts and state militias, were the closest enforcers of codes governing slaves throughout the South.
Mining a variety of sources, Sally Hadden presents the views of both patrollers and slaves as she depicts the patrols, composed of "respectable" members of society as well as poor whites, often mounted and armed with whips and guns, exerting a brutal and archaic brand of racial control inextricably linked to post-Civil War vigilantism and the Ku Klux Klan. City councils also used patrollers before the war, and police forces afterward, to impose their version of race relations across the South, making the entire region, not just plantations, an armed camp where slave workers were controlled through terror and brutality.
In Slavery, Agriculture, and Malaria in the Arabian Peninsula, Benjamin Reilly illuminates a previously unstudied phenomenon: the large-scale employment of people of African ancestry as slaves in agricultural oases within the Arabian Peninsula. The key to understanding this unusual system, Reilly argues, is the prevalence of malaria within Arabian Peninsula oases and drainage basins, which rendered agricultural lands in Arabia extremely unhealthy for people without genetic or acquired resistance to malarial fevers. In this way, Arabian slave agriculture had unexpected similarities to slavery as practiced in the Caribbean and Brazil.
This book synthesizes for the first time a body of historical and ethnographic data about slave-based agriculture in the Arabian Peninsula. Reilly uses an innovative methodology to analyze the limited historical record and a multidisciplinary approach to complicate our understandings of the nature of work in an area that is popularly thought of solely as desert. This work makes significant contributions both to the global literature on slavery and to the environmental history of the Middle East—an area that has thus far received little attention from scholars.
A series of transformations, reforms, and attempted abolitions of slavery form a core narrative of nineteenth-century coastal West Africa. As the region’s role in Atlantic commercial networks underwent a gradual transition from principally that of slave exporter to producer of “legitimate goods” and dependent markets, institutions of slavery became battlegrounds in which European abolitionism, pragmatic colonialism, and indigenous agency clashed.
In Slavery and Reform in West Africa, Trevor Getz demonstrates that it was largely on the anvil of this issue that French and British policy in West Africa was forged. With distant metropoles unable to intervene in daily affairs, local European administrators, striving to balance abolitionist pressures against the resistance of politically and economically powerful local slave owners, sought ways to satisfy the latter while placating or duping the former.
The result was an alliance between colonial officials, company agents, and slave-owning elites that effectively slowed, sidetracked, or undermined serious attempts to reform slave holding. Although slavery was outlawed in both regions, in only a few isolated instances did large-scale emancipations occur. Under the surface, however, slaves used the threat of self-liberation to reach accommodations that transformed the master-slave relationship.
By comparing the strategies of colonial administrators, slave-owners, and slaves across these two regions and throughout the nineteenth century, Slavery and Reform in West Africa reveals not only the causes of the astounding success of slave owners, but also the factors that could, and in some cases did, lead to slave liberations. These findings have serious implications for the wider study of slavery and emancipation and for the history of Africa generally.
Winner of the Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Award, American Sociological Association
Co-Winner of the Ralph J. Bunche Award, American Political Science Association
In a work of prodigious scholarship and enormous breadth, which draws on the tribal, ancient, premodern, and modern worlds, Orlando Patterson discusses the internal dynamics of slavery in sixty-six societies over time. These include Greece and Rome, medieval Europe, China, Korea, the Islamic kingdoms, Africa, the Caribbean islands, and the American South.
Praise for the previous edition:
“Densely packed, closely argued, and highly controversial in its dissent from much of the scholarly conventional wisdom about the function and structure of slavery worldwide.”
“There can be no doubt that this rich and learned book will reinvigorate debates that have tended to become too empirical and specialized. Patterson has helped to set out the direction for the next decades of interdisciplinary scholarship.”
—David Brion Davis, New York Review of Books
“This is clearly a major and important work, one which will be widely discussed, cited, and used. I anticipate that it will be considered among the landmarks in the study of slavery, and will be read by historians, sociologists, and anthropologists—as well as many other scholars and students.”
Sowande' Mustakeem's groundbreaking study goes inside the Atlantic slave trade to explore the social conditions and human costs embedded in the world of maritime slavery. Mining ship logs, records and personal documents, Mustakeem teases out the social histories produced between those on traveling ships: slaves, captains, sailors, and surgeons. As she shows, crewmen manufactured captives through enforced dependency, relentless cycles of physical, psychological terror, and pain that led to the the making--and unmaking--of enslaved Africans held and transported onboard slave ships. Mustakeem relates how this process, and related power struggles, played out not just for adult men, but also for women, children, teens, infants, nursing mothers, the elderly, diseased, ailing, and dying. Mustakeem offers provocative new insights into how gender, health, age, illness, and medical treatment intersected with trauma and violence transformed human beings into the world's most commercially sought commodity for over four centuries.
Slavery, Emancipation and Colonial Rule in South Africa examines the rural Cape Colony from the earliest days of Dutch colonial rule in the mid-seventeenth century to the outbreak of the South African War in 1899.
For slaves and slave owners alike, incorporation into the British Empire at the beginning of the nineteenth century brought fruits that were bittersweet. The gentry had initially done well by accepting British rule, but were ultimately faced with the legislated ending of servile labor. To slaves and Khoisan servants, British rule brought freedom, but a freedom that remained limited. The gentry accomplished this feat only with great difficulty. Increasingly, their dominance of the countryside was threatened by English-speaking merchants and money-lenders, a challenge that stimulated early Afrikaner nationalism. The alliances that ensured nineteenth-century colonial stability all but fell apart as the descendants of slaves and Khoisan turned on their erstwhile masters during the South African War of 1899–1902.
Born into slavery on a Tennessee plantation, John McCline escaped from bondage, worked for the Union Army in the Civil War, and eventually found a new life in the American West. Slavery in the Clover Bottoms is his own story, recollected in later years, of his life as a slave and as a free man.
McCline’s memoirs, completed in the 1920s and now published for the first time, vividly describe the James Hoggatt plantation in Davidson County: the work and routine of slaves; their religious, family, and social life; the behavior of the overseers; and the atmosphere of violence under Mrs. Hoggatt’s omnipresent whip. McCline tells of how he worked with livestock, a boy doing a man’s job, until he ran away with the Thirteenth Infantry of Michigan late in 1862, when he was little more than ten years old. For the next two-and-a-half years, young John worked as a teamster and officers’ servant, and during that time he witnessed some of the Civil War’s most famous battles—such as Murfreesboro, Chickamauga Creek, and Lookout Mountain—as well as Sherman’s march through Georgia.
McCline worked in Michigan, Chicago, and St. Louis after the war. He eventually made his way to Colorado, where his skill with horses helped him find employment with James John Hagerman, whose son Herbert would later be appointed governor of New Mexico Territory. McCline lived in Santa Fe from 1906 until his death in 1948 and became a leader in that city’s black community. During that period Herbert Hagerman encouraged McCline to write his memoirs and contributed an introduction that also appears in this volume. Jan Furman’s introduction puts McCline’s story in context, and her notes to the text clarify references.
Slavery in the Clover Bottoms joins an important body of newly published slave narratives. It provides a vast amount of firsthand detail about slavery and the Civil War and is particularly notable for presenting a former slave’s perspective on Sherman’s march. Its compelling story spans a continent and tells us much about relationships between the races in the middle and late nineteenth century.
Slaves and Slaveholders in Bermuda, 1616-1782, offers a fresh perspective on the complex relationship between racism and slavery in the often overlooked second-oldest English colony in the New World. As the first blacks were brought onto the islands not specifically for slave labor, but for their expertise as pearl divers and cultivators of West Indies plants, Bermuda's racial history began to unfold much differently from that of the Caribbean islands or of the North American mainland.
Bermuda's history records the arrival of the first blacks, the first English law passed to control the behavior of the "Negroes," and the creation of ninety-nine-year indentures for black and Indian servants. When the inevitable reality of slavery took hold in Bermuda, slaveholders realized that they, like their slaves, were not free. Slavery dictated and strained the relationships between whites and blacks, but in this smallest of English colonies it differed from slavery elsewhere because of the uniquely close master-slave relations created by Bermuda's size and maritime economy.
At only twenty-one square miles in area, Bermuda saw slaves and slaveholders working and living closer together than in other societies. The emphasis on maritime pursuits offered slaves a degree of autonomy and a sense of identity unequaled in other English colonies. This groundbreaking history of Bermuda's slavery reveals fewer runaways, less-violent rebellions, and relatively milder punishments for offending slaves.
Bernhard delves into the origins of Bermuda's slavery, its peculiar nature, and its effects on blacks and whites. The study is based on archival research drawn from wills and inventories, laws and court cases, governors' reports and council minutes. Intended as an introduction to both the history of the islands and the rich sources for further research, this book will prove invaluable to scholars of slavery, as well as those interested in historical archaeology, anthropology, maritime history, and colonial history.
Unlike African slavery in Europe and the Americas, slavery in the Sudan and other parts of Africa persisted well into the twentieth century. Sudanese slaves served Sudanese masters until the region was conquered by the Turks, who practiced slavery on a larger, institutional scale. When the British took over the Sudan in 1898, they officially emancipated the slaves, yet found it impossible to replace their labor in the country’s economy.
This pathfinding study explores the process of emancipation and the development of wage labor in the Sudan under British colonial rule. Ahmad Sikainga focuses on the fate of ex-slaves in Khartoum and on the efforts of the colonial government to transform them into wage laborers. He probes into what colonial rule and city life meant for slaves and ex-slaves and what the city and its people meant for colonial officials.
This investigation sheds new light on the legacy of slavery and the status of former slaves and their descendants. It also reveals how the legacy of slavery underlies the current ethnic and regional conflicts in the Sudan. It will be vital reading for students of race relations and slavery, colonialism and postcolonialism, urbanization, and labor history in Africa and the Middle East.
The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, passed in 1865, has long been viewed as a definitive break with the nation’s past by abolishing slavery and ushering in an inexorable march toward black freedom. Slaves of the State presents a stunning counterhistory to this linear narrative of racial, social, and legal progress in America.
Dennis Childs argues that the incarceration of black people and other historically repressed groups in chain gangs, peon camps, prison plantations, and penitentiaries represents a ghostly perpetuation of chattel slavery. He exposes how the Thirteenth Amendment’s exception clause—allowing for enslavement as “punishment for a crime”—has inaugurated forms of racial capitalist misogynist incarceration that serve as haunting returns of conditions Africans endured in the barracoons and slave ship holds of the Middle Passage, on plantations, and in chattel slavery.
Childs seeks out the historically muted voices of those entombed within terrorizing spaces such as the chain gang rolling cage and the modern solitary confinement cell, engaging the writings of Toni Morrison and Chester Himes as well as a broad range of archival materials, including landmark court cases, prison songs, and testimonies, reaching back to the birth of modern slave plantations such as Louisiana’s “Angola” penitentiary.
Slaves of the State paves the way for a new understanding of chattel slavery as a continuing social reality of U.S. empire—one resting at the very foundation of today’s prison industrial complex that now holds more than 2.3 million people within the country’s jails, prisons, and immigrant detention centers.
The written word and what the eye can see are brought together in this fascinating foray into the depiction of resistance to slavery through the modern medium of film. Davis, whose book The Return of Martin Guerre was written while she served as consultant to the French film of the same name, now tackles the large issue of how the moving picture industry has portrayed slaves in five major motion pictures spanning four generations. The potential of film to narrate the historical past in an effective and meaningful way, with insistence on loyalty to the evidence, is assessed in five films: Spartacus (1960), Burn! (1969), The Last Supper (1976), Amistad (1997), and Beloved (1998).
Davis shows how shifts in the viewpoints of screenwriters and directors parallel those of historians. Spartacus is polarized social history; the films on the Caribbean bring ceremony and carnival to bear on the origins of revolt; Amistad and Beloved draw upon the traumatic wounds in the memory of slavery and the resources for healing them. In each case Davis considers the intentions of filmmakers and evaluates the film and its techniques through historical evidence and interpretation. Family continuity emerges as a major element in the struggle against slavery.
Slaves on Screen is based in part on interviews with the Nobel prize–winning author of Beloved, Toni Morrison, and with Manuel Moreno Fraginals, the historical consultant for The Last Supper. Davis brings a new approach to historical film as a source of "thought experiments" about the past. While the five motion pictures are sometimes cinematic triumphs, with sound history inspiring the imagination, Davis is critical of fictive scenes and characters when they mislead viewers in important ways. Good history makes good films.
Once preoccupied with Brazilian slavery as an economic system, historians shifted their attention to examine the nature of life and community among enslaved people. Stuart B. Schwartz looks at this change while explaining why historians must continue to place their ethnographic approach in the context of enslavement as an oppressive social and economic system. Schwartz demonstrates the complexity of the system by reconsidering work, resistance, kinship, and relations between enslaved persons and peasants. As he shows, enslaved people played a role in shaping not only their lives but Brazil’s institutionalized system of slavery by using their own actions and attitudes to place limits on slaveholders.
A bold analysis of changing ideas in the field, Slaves, Peasants, and Rebels provides insights on how the shifting power relationship between enslaved people and slaveholders reshaped the contours of Brazilian society.
The rise of Zanzibar was based on two major economic transformations. Firstly slaves became used for producing cloves and grains for export. Previously the slaves themselves were exported.
Secondly, there was an increased international demand for luxuries such as ivory. At the same time the price of imported manufactured gods was falling. Zanzibar took advantage of its strategic position to trade as far as the Great Lakes.
However this very economic success increasingly subordinated Zanzibar to Britain, with its anti-slavery crusade and its control over the Indian merchant class.
Professor Sheriff analyses the early stages of the underdevelopment of East Africa and provides a corrective to the dominance of political and diplomatic factors in the history of the area.
Dandyism was initially imposed on black men in eighteenth-century England, as the Atlantic slave trade and an emerging culture of conspicuous consumption generated a vogue in dandified black servants. “Luxury slaves” tweaked and reworked their uniforms, and were soon known for their sartorial novelty and sometimes flamboyant personalities. Tracing the history of the black dandy forward to contemporary celebrity incarnations such as Andre 3000 and Sean Combs, Miller explains how black people became arbiters of style and how they have historically used the dandy’s signature tools—clothing, gesture, and wit—to break down limiting identity markers and propose new ways of fashioning political and social possibility in the black Atlantic world. With an aplomb worthy of her iconographic subject, she considers the black dandy in relation to nineteenth-century American literature and drama, W. E. B. Du Bois’s reflections on black masculinity and cultural nationalism, the modernist aesthetics of the Harlem Renaissance, and representations of black cosmopolitanism in contemporary visual art.
Winner of the Frederick Jackson Turner Award
Winner of the John Hope Franklin Prize
Winner of the Avery O. Craven Award
Soul by Soul tells the story of slavery in antebellum America by moving away from the cotton plantations and into the slave market itself, the heart of the domestic slave trade. Taking us inside the New Orleans slave market, the largest in the nation, where 100,000 men, women, and children were packaged, priced, and sold, Walter Johnson transforms the statistics of this chilling trade into the human drama of traders, buyers, and slaves, negotiating sales that would alter the life of each. What emerges is not only the brutal economics of trading but the vast and surprising interdependencies among the actors involved.
Using recently discovered court records, slaveholders’ letters, nineteenth-century narratives of former slaves, and the financial documentation of the trade itself, Johnson reveals the tenuous shifts of power that occurred in the market’s slave coffles and showrooms. Traders packaged their slaves by “feeding them up,” dressing them well, and oiling their bodies, but they ultimately relied on the slaves to play their part as valuable commodities. Slave buyers stripped the slaves and questioned their pasts, seeking more honest answers than they could get from the traders. In turn, these examinations provided information that the slaves could utilize, sometimes even shaping a sale to their own advantage.
Johnson depicts the subtle interrelation of capitalism, paternalism, class consciousness, racism, and resistance in the slave market, to help us understand the centrality of the “peculiar institution” in the lives of slaves and slaveholders alike. His pioneering history is in no small measure the story of antebellum slavery.
Spartacus (109?–71 bce), the slave who rebelled against Rome, has been a source of endless fascination, the subject of myth-making in his own time, and of movie-making in ours. Hard facts about the man have always yielded to romanticized tales and mystifications. In this riveting, compact account, Aldo Schiavone rescues Spartacus from the murky regions of legend and brings him squarely into the arena of serious history.
Schiavone transports us to Italy of the first century bce, where the pervasive institution of slavery dominates all aspects of Roman life. In this historic landscape, carefully reconstructed by the author, we encounter Spartacus, who is enslaved after deserting from the Roman army to avoid fighting against his native Thrace. Imprisoned in Capua and trained as a gladiator, he leads an uprising that will shake the empire to its foundations.
While the grandeur of the Spartacus story has always been apparent, its political significance has been less clear. What were his ambitions? Often depicted as the leader of a class rebellion that was fierce in intent but ragtag in makeup and organization, Spartacus emerges here in a very different light: the commander of an army whose aim was to incite Italy to revolt against Rome and to strike at the very heart of the imperial system. Surprising, persuasive, and highly original, Spartacus challenges the lore and illuminates the reality of a figure whose achievements, and whose ultimate defeat, are more extraordinary and moving than the fictions we make from them.
Staging the Amistad collects in print for the first time plays about the Amistad slave revolt by three of Sierra Leone’s most influential playwrights of the latter decades of the twentieth century: Charlie Haffner, Yulisa Amadu “Pat” Maddy, and Raymond E. D. de’Souza George. Until the late 1980s, when the first of these plays was performed, the 1839 shipboard slave rebellion and the return of its victors to their homes in what is modern-day Sierra Leone had been an unrecognized chapter in the country’s history.
The plays recast the tale of heroism, survival, and resistance to tyranny as a distinctly Sierra Leonean story, emphasizing the agency of its African protagonists. For this reason, Haffner, Maddy, and de’Souza George counterbalance the better-known American representations of the rebellion, which center on American characters and American political and cultural concerns.
The first public performances of these plays constituted a watershed moment. Written and staged immediately before and after the start of Sierra Leone’s decade-long conflict, they brought the Amistad rebellion to public consciousness. Furthermore, their turn to a uniquely Sierra Leonean history of heroic resistance to tyranny highlights the persistent faith in nation-state nationalism and the dreams of decolonization.
"Swing the Sickle for the Harvest Is Ripe" compares the work, family, and economic experiences of enslaved women and men in upcountry and lowland Georgia during the nineteenth century. Mining planters' daybooks, plantation records, and a wealth of other sources, Daina Ramey Berry shows how slaves' experiences on large plantations, which were essentially self-contained, closed communities, contrasted with those on small plantations, where planters' interests in sharing their workforce allowed slaves more open, fluid communications. By inviting readers into slaves' internal lives through her detailed examination of domestic violence, separation and sale, and forced breeding, Berry also reveals important new ways of understanding what it meant to be a female or male slave, as well as how public and private aspects of slave life influenced each other on the plantation.
A volume in the series Women in American History, edited by Anne Firor Scott, Susan Armitage, Susan K. Cahn, and Deborah Gray White
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press