Slavery in the Cities

Slavery in the Cities : The South, 1820-60

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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 150 x 230mm
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 0195006437
  • 9780195006438

Review Text

"City air is freer" is the gist of an old saying and in the early 1800's this proved true even for the slaves." Urban slaves had the opportunity to mingle with other blacks and whites, to learn trades and to educate themselves (albeit generally on the sly) while rural slaves were isolated and subject entirely to the master's will. The author describes a relatively loose bondage brought about by the necessity for a fluid labor supply, and the anonymity offered by the busy population of a Southern "Boom town." This is not in any way to excuse the "peculiar institution" or to say that ??life was anything but miserable for the Negro, but to document the decline of slavery as a tool in an urban society. Thus, with control becoming ever more difficult, an increasing population of free blacks and the memory of several real or imagined slave uprisings creating fear, the "reformers" won out, many Negro males were sold into the country and the noose of segregation was tightened around the Negro community. Mr. Wade leaves us there, on the eve of the Civil War, without comment, but his inferences are clear and legion. (Kirkus Reviews)show more