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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

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2 Beaverton African American Studies- Slavery and Reconstruction

Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America

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Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Today most Americans, black and white, identify slavery with cotton, the deep South, and the African-American church. But at the beginning of the nineteenth century, after almost two hundred years of African-American life in mainland North America, few slaves grew cotton, lived in the deep South, or embraced Christianity. Many Thousands Gone traces the evolution of black society from the first arrivals in the early seventeenth century through the Revolution. In telling their story, Ira Berlin, a leading historian of southern and African-American life, reintegrates slaves into the history of the American working class and into the tapestry of our nation.

Laboring as field hands on tobacco and rice plantations, as skilled artisans in port cities, or soldiers along the frontier, generation after generation of African Americans struggled to create a world of their own in circumstances not of their own making. In a panoramic view that stretches from the North to the Chesapeake Bay and Carolina lowcountry to the Mississippi Valley, Many Thousands Gone reveals the diverse forms that slavery and freedom assumed before cotton was king. We witness the transformation that occurred as the first generations of creole slaves--who worked alongside their owners, free blacks, and indentured whites--gave way to the plantation generations, whose back-breaking labor was the sole engine of their society and whose physical and linguistic isolation sustained African traditions on American soil.

As the nature of the slaves' labor changed with place and time, so did the relationship between slave and master, and between slave and society. In this fresh and vivid interpretation, Berlin demonstrates that the meaning of slavery and of race itself was continually renegotiated and redefined, as the nation lurched toward political and economic independence and grappled with the Enlightenment ideals that had inspired its birth.

Synopsis:

Today most Americans, black and white, identify slavery with cotton, the deep South, and the African-American church. But at the beginning of the nineteenth century, after almost two hundred years of African-American life in mainland North America, few slaves grew cotton, lived in the deep South, or embraced Christianity. Many Thousands Gonetraces the evolution of black society from the first arrivals in the early seventeenth century through the Revolution. In telling their story, Ira Berlin, a leading historian of southern and African-American life, reintegrates slaves into the history of the American working class and into the tapestry of our nation.

Laboring as field hands on tobacco and rice plantations, as skilled artisans in port cities, or soldiers along the frontier, generation after generation of African Americans struggled to create a world of their own in circumstances not of their own making. In a panoramic view that stretches from the North to the Chesapeake Bay and Carolina lowcountry to the Mississippi Valley, Many Thousands Gonereveals the diverse forms that slavery and freedom assumed before cotton was king. We witness the transformation that occurred as the first generations of creole slaves--who worked alongside their owners, free blacks, and indentured whites--gave way to the plantation generations, whose back-breaking labor was the sole engine of their society and whose physical and linguistic isolation sustained African traditions on American soil.

As the nature of the slaves' labor changed with place and time, so did the relationship between slave and master, and between slave and society. In this fresh and vivid interpretation, Berlin demonstrates that the meaning of slavery and of race itself was continually renegotiated and redefined, as the nation lurched toward political and economic independence and grappled with the Enlightenment ideals that had inspired its birth.

About the Author

Ira Berlin is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Making Slavery, Making Race

Societies with Slaves: The Charter Generations

Emergence of Atlantic Creoles in the Chesapeake

Expansion of Creole Society in the North

Divergent Paths in the Lowcountry

Devolution in the Lower Mississippi Valley

Slave Societies: The Plantation Generations

The Tobacco Revolution in the Chesapeake

The Rice Revolution in the Lowcountry

Growth and the Transformation of Black Life in the North

Stagnation and Transformation in the Lower Mississippi Valley

Slave and Free: The Revolutionary Generations

The Slow Death of Slavery in the North

The Union of African-American Society in the Upper South

Fragmentation in the Lower South

Slavery and Freedom in the Lower Mississippi Valley

Epilogue: Making Race, Making Slavery

Tables

Abbreviations

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674810921
Subtitle:
The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America
Author:
Berlin, Ira
Author:
Berlin, IRA
Publisher:
Belknap Press
Location:
Cambridge, Mass. :
Subject:
History
Subject:
United states
Subject:
African American Studies - History
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Afro-americans
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Slavery
Subject:
United States - Colonial Period
Subject:
Afro-Americans -- Social conditions -- 18th century.
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - Histor
Copyright:
Publication Date:
19980920
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
4 maps, 4 woodcuts, 3 tables
Pages:
512
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.25 in 1.9 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » African American Studies » Slavery and Reconstruction

Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America Used Hardcover
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Product details 512 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674810921 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Today most Americans, black and white, identify slavery with cotton, the deep South, and the African-American church. But at the beginning of the nineteenth century, after almost two hundred years of African-American life in mainland North America, few slaves grew cotton, lived in the deep South, or embraced Christianity. Many Thousands Gonetraces the evolution of black society from the first arrivals in the early seventeenth century through the Revolution. In telling their story, Ira Berlin, a leading historian of southern and African-American life, reintegrates slaves into the history of the American working class and into the tapestry of our nation.

Laboring as field hands on tobacco and rice plantations, as skilled artisans in port cities, or soldiers along the frontier, generation after generation of African Americans struggled to create a world of their own in circumstances not of their own making. In a panoramic view that stretches from the North to the Chesapeake Bay and Carolina lowcountry to the Mississippi Valley, Many Thousands Gonereveals the diverse forms that slavery and freedom assumed before cotton was king. We witness the transformation that occurred as the first generations of creole slaves--who worked alongside their owners, free blacks, and indentured whites--gave way to the plantation generations, whose back-breaking labor was the sole engine of their society and whose physical and linguistic isolation sustained African traditions on American soil.

As the nature of the slaves' labor changed with place and time, so did the relationship between slave and master, and between slave and society. In this fresh and vivid interpretation, Berlin demonstrates that the meaning of slavery and of race itself was continually renegotiated and redefined, as the nation lurched toward political and economic independence and grappled with the Enlightenment ideals that had inspired its birth.

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