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Lecture 6

AFAM 3001 Lecture 6: 6. From a Society with Slaves to a Slave Society

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Fordham University
African American Studies
AFAM 3001

From a Society with Slaves to a Slave Society 03/06/17 • Ire Berlin th o Societies with slaves (i.e., the North and 17 cen. Chesapeake) o Appears a milder form of slavery o Not working in “gangs” on large sugar, rice or tobacco plantation o Slaves were “marginal to the central productive processes” (MTG) o Because of their marginality, slaveholders could be excessively violent or resistant to freeing slaves o Small slaveholdings o Fluid line between slave and free o Manumission possible and sometimes encouraged o Characterized much northern slavery o Characterized much of the first, of “Charter,” generation of slavery (17 cen.) • Part II o Slave Societies o Slavery at the center of economic production o Master-slave relationship the model for all social relations (husband-wife, teacher-student, etc.) o Nothing and no one escaped o Emergence due to the discovery of a valuable commodity (sugar) o that required a large labor pool o Emergence of plantation system with bureacracy o Tobacco dominated the economy by mid-17 centuryth o Owners reluctant to free slaves, let them engage in an independent economy, sue in court, establish family ties, etc. o Slavery codified • From Charter Generation to Plantation Generation o The Charter Generations o Atlantic Creoles - Africans arriving to New World (often via Caribbean) o Worked mostly small-scale farms alongside: o Master and family (“sawmill equality”) o European indentured servants o Many had opportunity to purchase their freedom o Interested in converting to Christianity and learning about European culture o Life characterized by the formation of families and community • Demise of Charter Gen o The Story of “Antonio a Negro”/Anthony Johnson o Arrived in Virginia in 1621 and purchased by the Bennett family o Changed his name to “Anthony Johnson” o Farmed independently outside of his work for Bennett, baptized and married o Purchased his freedom, bought a 250-acre plantation in 1651, sponsored white servants, and held his own slaves o Went to court to get his servant John Casor back and to get tax relief when his plantation burned down o Left Virginia to move North in 1660s – family blended into mixed-race societies, called “triracial isolates” o Charter gen. no longer present in Chesapeake after c. 1700-1730s o “Africanization” of the Chesapeake o This generation not creolized, uninterested in Christianity & Europeanization o Could not take advantage of their knowledge of Euro-American culture, laws and customs • Tobacco Slavery in Chesapeake o The Story of “Antonio a Negro”/Anthony Johnson o Arriv
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