Synopses & Reviews
How did slavery in America begin? Gangs of black slaves toiling on large southern plantations dominate many students' ideas of African American history. Although ultimately the reality for most forced immigrants of African descent, the institution of slavery was not inevitable in colonial America. Each of the 5 selections in this volume attempts to show students how slavery emerged, how it became the defining condition for African Americans in the British colonies, and how its development influenced and transformed every aspect of society from colonial law and politics to social relations and cultural values.
About the Author
EDWARD COUNTRYMAN is University Distinguished Professor in the Clements Department of History at Southern Methodist University. He has also taught at the Universities of Warwick and Cambridge; the University of Canterbury; and Yale University. He has published widely on the American Revolution, winning a Bancroft Prize for his book A People in Revolution (1981). Together with Evonne von Heussen-Countryman, he has also published Shane in the British Film Institute Film Classics series.
Table of Contents
A Note for Students
PART I. INTRODUCTION
The Beginnings of American Slavery
Africans and Slavery in Colonial America
Historians and the Beginnings of Slavery
PART II. SOME CURRENT QUESTIONS
1. Was the early "European Atlantic" also an African Atlantic?
Ira Berlin, From Creole to African: Atlantic Creoles and the Origins of African-American Society in Mainland North America
2. Who enslaved whom?
Margaret Washington, Gullah Roots, From "A Peculiar People": Slave Religion and Community-Culture among the Gullahs
3. How did the subject of slavery enter American law?
A. Leon Higginbotham Jr., The Ancestry of Inferiority (1619-1662), From Shades of Freedom: Racial Politics and Presumptions of the American Legal Process
4. How did North America's absolute racial division begin?
Winthrop D. Jordan, American Chiaroscuro: The Status and Definition of Mulattoes in the British Colonies
5. Did American freedom rest upon American slavery?
Edmund S. Morgan, Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox
Suggestions for Further Reading