Synopses & Reviews
Ever since its publication twenty-five years ago, "Myne Owne Ground"
has challenged readers to rethink much of what is taken for granted about American race relations.
During the earliest decades of Virginia history, some men and women who arrived in the New World as slaves achieved freedom and formed a stable community on the Eastern shore. Holding their own with white neighbors for much of the 17th century, these free blacks purchased freedom for family members, amassed property, established plantations, and acquired laborers. T.H. Breen and Stephen Innes reconstruct a community in which ownership of property was as significant as skin color in structuring social relations. Why this model of social interaction in race relations did not survive makes this a critical and urgent work of history.
In a new foreword, Breen and Innes reflect on the origins of this book, setting it into the context of Atlantic and particularly African history.
"Excellent work for introducing complexities of American slavery during the period of its colonial origins."--Ross Frank, University of California, San Diego
"An excellent, short study that combines broad issues with a sense of real people facing real problems."--Robert V. Wells, Union College
"A good example of 13th century Virginian history."--Patricia J. Hill-Zeigler, University of New Hampshire
"An important study. It is part of a growing literature that is reexamining the earliest origins of American racial interaction....It invites the historical community to reassess old and fundamental questions about slavery, African culture, and the origins of racism in American society."--Journal of Southern History
"Short but powerful... a major contribution to...black history."--Reviews in American History
"First-rate study of early Virginia that sparks class discussion. Students enjoy it."--R.E. Cray, Montclair State University
"This fascinating account proves that for a couple of generations in seventeenth-century Virginia the two races lived fairly comfortably side by side....It is an extraordinary and convincing story."--The New York Review of Books
"[Breen and Innes] have pieced together sufficient details relating to the lives of some of these blacks to establish firstly that skin colour was not originally an absolute impediment to social advancement, and secondly that the white immigrant population on Virginia's eastern shore were not averse to accepting as social equals blacks who had recently purchased their freedom from slavery."--The Historical Journal
"A thorough exploitation of available sources coupled with a sophisticated understanding of the difficult issues confronting those trying to unravel the complexities of early American race relations....[Breen and Innes] have reminded us of forgotten alternatives in this society's racial odyssey."--The Journal of Southern History
T.H. Breen and Stephen Innes tells the story of the black planters of Pungoteage Creek who formed a free, stable community on Virginia's Eastern Shore. 25th anniversary edition. New Preface sets the work of Pungoteague Creek into its wider Atlantic world perspective.