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

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2012-02-10 16:05Z by Steven

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

2012 [Originally Published by University of South Carolina press in 1985]
300 pages
6 x 9
Softcover ISBN: 978-0-7864-6931-4

Larry Koger, Historian

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.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • List of Tables
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • 1. Free Black Slaveholding and the Federal Census
  • 2. The Numbers and Distribution of Black Slaveholding
  • 3. From Slavery to Freedom to Slaveownership
  • 4. “Buying My Chidrum from Ole Massa”
  • 5. Neither a Slave Nor a Free Person
  • 6. The Woodson Thesis: Fact or Fiction?
  • 7. White Rice, White Cotton, Brown Planters, Black Slaves
  • 8. Free Black Artisans: A Need for Labor
  • 9. The Denmark Vesey Conspiracy: Brown Masters vs. Black Slaves
  • 10. No More Black Massa
  • Appendix A. Tables for Chapter One
  • Appendix B. Table for Chapter Two
  • Appendix C. Tables for Chapter Six
  • Notes
  • Index
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