From Bondage to Contract

Author: Amy Dru Stanley
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521635268
Release Date: 1998-11-13
Genre: History

In the era of slave emancipation no ideal of freedom had greater power than that of contract. The antislavery claim was that the negation of chattel status lay in the contracts of wage labor and marriage. Signifying self-ownership, volition, and reciprocal exchange among formally equal individuals, contract became the dominant metaphor for social relations and the very symbol of freedom. This 1999 book explores how a generation of American thinkers and reformers - abolitionists, former slaves, feminists, labor advocates, jurists, moralists, and social scientists - drew on contract to condemn the evils of chattel slavery as well as to measure the virtues of free society. Their arguments over the meaning of slavery and freedom were grounded in changing circumstances of labor and home life on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. At the heart of these arguments lay the problem of defining which realms of self and social existence could be rendered market commodities and which could not.

Litigating Across the Color Line

Author: Melissa Milewski
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190249199
Release Date: 2017-11-01
Genre: Law

As a result of the violence, segregation, and disfranchisement that occurred throughout the South in the decades after Reconstruction, it has generally been assumed that African Americans in the post-Reconstruction South litigated few civil cases and faced widespread inequality in the suits they did pursue. In this groundbreaking work, Melissa Milewski shows that black men and women were far more able to negotiate the southern legal system during the era of Jim Crow than previously realized. She explores how, when the financial futures of their families were on the line, black litigants throughout the South took on white southerners in civil suits and, at times, succeeded in finding justice in the Southern courts. Between 1865 and 1950, in almost a thousand civil cases across eight southern states, former slaves took their former masters to court, black sharecroppers litigated disputes against white landowners, and African Americans with little formal education brought disputes against wealthy white members of their communities. As black southerners negotiated a legal system with almost all white gate-keepers, they found that certain kinds of cases were much easier to gain whites' support for than others. But in the suits they were able to litigate, they displayed pragmatism and a savvy understanding of how to get whites on their side. Their negotiation of this system proved surprisingly successful: in the civil cases African Americans litigated in the highest courts of eight states, they won more than half of their suits against whites throughout this period. Litigating Across the Color Line shows that in a tremendously constrained environment where they were often shut out of other government institutions, seen as racially inferior, and often segregated, African Americans found a way to fight for their rights in one of the only ways they could. Through these suits, they adapted and at times made a biased system work for them under enormous constraints. At the same time, Milewski considers the limitations of working within a white-dominated system at a time of great racial discrimination--and the choices black litigants had to make to get their cases heard.

Slavery s Metropolis

Author: Rashauna Johnson
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107133716
Release Date: 2016-10-31
Genre: History

A vivid examination of slave life in New Orleans in the early nineteenth century.

Freedwomen and the Freedmen s Bureau

Author: Mary Farmer-Kaiser
Publisher: Fordham Univ Press
ISBN: 9780823232116
Release Date: 2010
Genre: History

Established by congress in early 1865, the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands - more commonly known as "the Freedmen's Bureau" - assumed the Herculean task of overseeing the transition from slavery to freedom in the post-Civil War South. Although it was called the Freedmen'sBureau, the agency profoundly affected African-American women. Until now remarkably little has been written about the relationship between black women and this federal government agency. As Mary Farmer-Kaiser clearly demonstrates in this revealing work, by failing to recognize freedwomen as active agents of change and overlooking the gendered assumptions at work in Bureau efforts, scholars have ultimately failed to understand fully the Bureau's relationships with freedwomen,freedmen, and black communities in this pivotal era of American history.

Hirelings

Author: Jennifer Hull Dorsey
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801461154
Release Date: 2011-03-25
Genre: History

In Hirelings, Jennifer Dorsey recreates the social and economic milieu of Maryland's Eastern Shore at a time when black slavery and black freedom existed side by side. She follows a generation of manumitted African Americans and their freeborn children and grandchildren through the process of inventing new identities, associations, and communities in the early nineteenth century. Free Africans and their descendants had lived in Maryland since the seventeenth century, but before the American Revolution they were always few in number and lacking in economic resources or political leverage. By contrast, manumitted and freeborn African Americans in the early republic refashioned the Eastern Shore's economy and society, earning their livings as wage laborers while establishing thriving African American communities. As free workers in a slave society, these African Americans contested the legitimacy of the slave system even while they remained dependent laborers. They limited white planters' authority over their time and labor by reuniting their families in autonomous households, settling into free black neighborhoods, negotiating labor contracts that suited the needs of their households, and worshipping in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Some moved to the cities, but many others migrated between employers as a strategy for meeting their needs and thwarting employers' control. They demonstrated that independent and free African American communities could thrive on their own terms. In all of these actions the free black workers of the Eastern Shore played a pivotal role in ongoing debates about the merits of a free labor system.

Coolies and Cane

Author: Moon-Ho Jung
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 0801882818
Release Date: 2006
Genre: History

Tracing American ideas of Asian labor to the sugar plantations of the Caribbean, Moon-Ho Jung argues that the racial formation of 'coolies' in American culture and law played a pivotal role in reconstructing concepts of race, nation, and citizenship in the United States.

Lincoln s Proclamation

Author: William A. Blair
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 0807895415
Release Date: 2009-11-01
Genre: History

The Emancipation Proclamation, widely remembered as the heroic act that ended slavery, in fact freed slaves only in states in the rebellious South. True emancipation was accomplished over a longer period and by several means. Essays by eight distinguished contributors consider aspects of the president's decision making, as well as events beyond Washington, offering new insights on the consequences and legacies of freedom, the engagement of black Americans in their liberation, and the issues of citizenship and rights that were not decided by Lincoln's document. The essays portray emancipation as a product of many hands, best understood by considering all the actors, the place, and the time. The contributors are William A. Blair, Richard Carwardine, Paul Finkelman, Louis Gerteis, Steven Hahn, Stephanie McCurry, Mark E. Neely Jr., Michael Vorenberg, and Karen Fisher Younger.

The Sugar Masters

Author: Richard Follett
Publisher: LSU Press
ISBN: 9780807148525
Release Date: 2005-06-01
Genre: History

Focusing on the master-slave relationship in Louisiana's antebellum sugarcane country, The Sugar Masters explores how a modern, capitalist mind-set among planters meshed with old-style paternalistic attitudes to create one of the South's most insidiously oppressive labor systems. As author Richard Follett vividly demonstrates, the agricultural paradise of Louisiana's thriving sugarcane fields came at an unconscionable cost to slaves. Thanks to technological and business innovations, sugar planters stood as models of capitalist entrepreneurship by midcentury. But above all, labor management was the secret to their impressive success. Follett explains how in exchange for increased productivity and efficiency they offered their slaves a range of incentives, such as greater autonomy, improved accommodations, and even financial remuneration. These material gains, however, were only short term. According to Follett, many of Louisiana's sugar elite presented their incentives with a "facade of paternal reciprocity" that seemingly bound the slaves' interests to the apparent goodwill of the masters, but in fact, the owners sought to control every aspect of the slaves's lives, from reproduction to discretionary income. Slaves responded to this display of paternalism by trying to enhance their rights under bondage, but the constant bargaining process invariably led to compromises on their part, and the grueling production pace never relented. The only respite from their masters' demands lay in fashioning their own society, including outlets for religion, leisure, and trade. Until recently, scholars have viewed planters as either paternalistic lords who eschewed marketplace values or as entrepreneurs driven to business success. Follett offers a new view of the sugar masters as embracing both the capitalist market and a social ideology based on hierarchy, honor, and paternalism. His stunning synthesis of empirical research, demographics study, and social and cultural history sets a new standard for this subject.

Fenians Freedmen and Southern Whites

Author: Mitchell Snay
Publisher: LSU Press
ISBN: 9780807154816
Release Date: 2010-09-01
Genre: History

After the American Civil War, several movements for ethnic separatism and political self-determination significantly shaped the course of Reconstruction. The Union Leagues mobilized African Americans to fight for their political rights and economic security while the Ku Klux Klan used intimidation and violence to maintain the political and economic hegemony of southern whites. Founded in 1858 as the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood, the Irish American Fenians sought to liberate Ireland from English rule. In Fenians, Freedmen, and Southern Whites, Mitchell Snay provides a compelling comparison of these seemingly disparate groups and illuminates the contours of nationalism during Reconstruction. By joining the Fenians with freedpeople and southern whites, Snay seeks to assert their central relevance to the dynamics of nationalism during Reconstruction and offers a highly original analysis of Reconstruction as an Age of Capital and an Age of Emancipation where categories of race, class, and gender -- as well as nationalism -- were fluid and contested. After the American Civil War, several movements for ethnic separatism and political self-determination significantly shaped the course of Reconstruction. The Union Leagues, which began during the war to support the northern effort, spread to the South after the war and mobilized African Americans to fight for their political rights and economic security. Opposing the Leagues was the Ku Klux Klan, which used intimidation and violence to maintain the political and economic hegemony of southern whites. Founded in 1858 as the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood, the Irish American Fenians sought to liberate Ireland from English rule. Mitchell Snay provides a compelling comparison of these seemingly disparate groups in Fenians, Freedmen, and Southern Whites, illuminating the contours of nationalism during Reconstruction. Despite their separate and often opposing goals, the Fenians, Union Leagues, and the Klan, Snay reveals, shared many characteristics. To various extents, they were secret societies that sought to advance their mission through both political and extra-political means. Both the League and the Klan employed elaborate rites of initiation and secret passwords common to nineteenth-century fraternal organizations. They also shared a similar political culture of secrecy, conspiracy, and countersubversion. All three groups were quasi-military in structure and activities and shared a desire for the control of land. Among the three organizations, Snay shows, the Fenians provide the clearest case of nationalist aspirations along the lines of ethnicity, though the rise of racial consciousness among both southern whites and blacks also might be seen as expressions of ethnic nationalism. According to Snay, the political culture of Reconstruction encouraged the nationalist ambitions of these groups, but channeled their separatist impulses along civil rather than ethnic lines by focusing on questions of freedom, citizenship, and suffrage. In addition, the Republican emphasis on color-blind equality limited overt expressions of national identities based solely on ethnicity or race.Unlike southern whites and blacks, Irish Americans are seldom mentioned in Reconstruction histories. By joining the Fenians with freedpeople and southern whites, Snay seeks to assert their central relevance to the dynamics of nationalism during Reconstruction and offers a highly original analysis of Reconstruction as an Age of Capital and an Age of Emancipation where categories of race, class, and gender -- as well as nationalism -- were fluid and contested.

Journal of the Civil War Era

Author: William A. Blair
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 9780807852644
Release Date: 2012-06-01
Genre: History

The Journal of the Civil War Era Volume 2, Number 2 June 2012 TABLE OF CONTENTS New Approaches to Internationalizing the History of the Civil War Era: A Special Issue Editor's Note William Blair Articles W. Caleb Mcdaniel & Bethany L. Johnson New Approaches to Internationalizing the History of the Civil War: An Introduction Gale L. Kenny Manliness and Manifest Racial Destiny: Jamaica and African American Emigration in the 1850s Edward B. Rugemer Slave Rebels and Abolitionists: The Black Atlantic and the Coming of the Civil War Peter Kolchin Comparative Perspectives on Emancipation in the U.S. South: Reconstruction, Radicalism, and Russia Susan-Mary Grant The Lost Boys: Citizen-Soldiers, Disabled Veterans, and Confederate Nationalism in the Age of People's War Book Reviews Books Received Professional Notes Mark W. Geiger "Follow the Money" Notes on Contributors The Journal of the Civil War Era takes advantage of the flowering of research on the many issues raised by the sectional crisis, war, Reconstruction, and memory of the conflict, while bringing fresh understanding to the struggles that defined the period, and by extension, the course of American history in the nineteenth century.

Spectacular Wickedness

Author: Emily Epstein Landau
Publisher: LSU Press
ISBN: 9780807150160
Release Date: 2013-01-14
Genre: History

From 1897 to 1917 the red-light district of Storyville commercialized and even thrived on New Orleans's longstanding reputation for sin and sexual excess. This notorious neighborhood, located just outside of the French Quarter, hosted a diverse cast of characters who reflected the cultural milieu and complex social structure of turn-of-the-century New Orleans, a city infamous for both prostitution and interracial intimacy. In particular, Lulu White -- a mixed-race prostitute and madam -- created an image of herself and marketed it profitably to sell sex with light-skinned women to white men of means. In Spectacular Wickedness, Emily Epstein Landau examines the social history of this famed district within the cultural context of developing racial, sexual, and gender ideologies and practices. Storyville's founding was envisioned as a reform measure, an effort by the city's business elite to curb and contain prostitution -- namely, to segregate it. In 1890, the Louisiana legislature passed the Separate Car Act, which, when challenged by New Orleans's Creoles of color, led to the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson decision in 1896, constitutionally sanctioning the enactment of "separate but equal" laws. The concurrent partitioning of both prostitutes and blacks worked only to reinforce Storyville's libidinous license and turned sex across the color line into a more lucrative commodity. By looking at prostitution through the lens of patriarchy and demonstrating how gendered racial ideologies proved crucial to the remaking of southern society in the aftermath of the Civil War, Landau reveals how Storyville's salacious and eccentric subculture played a significant role in the way New Orleans constructed itself during the New South era.

Black Slaves Indian Masters

Author: Barbara Krauthamer
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 9781469607115
Release Date: 2013-08-01
Genre: Social Science

From the late eighteenth century through the end of the Civil War, Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians bought, sold, and owned Africans and African Americans as slaves, a fact that persisted after the tribes' removal from the Deep South to Indian Territory. The tribes formulated racial and gender ideologies that justified this practice and marginalized free black people in the Indian nations well after the Civil War and slavery had ended. Through the end of the nineteenth century, ongoing conflicts among Choctaw, Chickasaw, and U.S. lawmakers left untold numbers of former slaves and their descendants in the two Indian nations without citizenship in either the Indian nations or the United States. In this groundbreaking study, Barbara Krauthamer rewrites the history of southern slavery, emancipation, race, and citizenship to reveal the centrality of Native American slaveholders and the black people they enslaved. Krauthamer's examination of slavery and emancipation highlights the ways Indian women's gender roles changed with the arrival of slavery and changed again after emancipation and reveals complex dynamics of race that shaped the lives of black people and Indians both before and after removal.

Freedom s Frontier

Author: Stacey L. Smith
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 9781469607696
Release Date: 2013-08-12
Genre: History

Most histories of the Civil War era portray the struggle over slavery as a conflict that exclusively pitted North against South, free labor against slave labor, and black against white. In Freedom's Frontier, Stacey L. Smith examines the battle over slavery as it unfolded on the multiracial Pacific Coast. Despite its antislavery constitution, California was home to a dizzying array of bound and semibound labor systems: African American slavery, American Indian indenture, Latino and Chinese contract labor, and a brutal sex traffic in bound Indian and Chinese women. Using untapped legislative and court records, Smith reconstructs the lives of California's unfree workers and documents the political and legal struggles over their destiny as the nation moved through the Civil War, emancipation, and Reconstruction. Smith reveals that the state's anti-Chinese movement, forged in its struggle over unfree labor, reached eastward to transform federal Reconstruction policy and national race relations for decades to come. Throughout, she illuminates the startling ways in which the contest over slavery's fate included a western struggle that encompassed diverse labor systems and workers not easily classified as free or slave, black or white.

The Struggle for Equal Adulthood

Author: Corinne T. Field
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 9781469618159
Release Date: 2014-09-02
Genre: Social Science

In the fight for equality, early feminists often cited the infantilization of women and men of color as a method used to keep them out of power. Corinne T. Field argues that attaining adulthood--and the associated political rights, economic opportunities, and sexual power that come with it--became a common goal for both white and African American feminists between the American Revolution and the Civil War. The idea that black men and all women were more like children than adult white men proved difficult to overcome, however, and continued to serve as a foundation for racial and sexual inequality for generations. In detailing the connections between the struggle for equality and concepts of adulthood, Field provides an essential historical context for understanding the dilemmas black and white women still face in America today, from "glass ceilings" and debates over welfare dependency to a culture obsessed with youth and beauty. Drawn from a fascinating past, this book tells the history of how maturity, gender, and race collided, and how those affected came together to fight against injustice.

Doctoring Freedom

Author: Gretchen Long
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 9780807837399
Release Date: 2012-10-22
Genre: Social Science

For enslaved and newly freed African Americans, attaining freedom and citizenship without health for themselves and their families would have been an empty victory. Even before emancipation, African Americans recognized that control of their bodies was a critical battleground in their struggle for autonomy, and they devised strategies to retain at least some of that control. In Doctoring Freedom, Gretchen Long tells the stories of African Americans who fought for access to both medical care and medical education, showing the important relationship between medical practice and political identity. Working closely with antebellum medical journals, planters' diaries, agricultural publications, letters from wounded African American soldiers, WPA narratives, and military and Freedmen's Bureau reports, Long traces African Americans' political acts to secure medical care: their organizing mutual-aid societies, their petitions to the federal government, and, as a last resort, their founding of their own medical schools, hospitals, and professional organizations. She also illuminates work of the earliest generation of black physicians, whose adult lives spanned both slavery and freedom. For African Americans, Long argues, claiming rights as both patients and practitioners was a political and highly charged act in both slavery and emancipation.