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The slave community; plantation life in the antebellum South

Author: John W Blassingame
Publisher: New York, Oxford University Press, 1972.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
This volume is one of the first historical studies of slavery in the United States to be presented from the perspective of the enslaved. This work contradicted those historians who had interpreted history to suggest that African American slaves were docile and submissive who enjoyed the benefits of a paternalistic master-slave relationship on Southern plantations. Using psychology, the author analyzes fugitive slave
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Blassingame, John W., 1940-
Slave community.
New York, Oxford University Press, 1972
(OCoLC)560762906
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: John W Blassingame
ISBN: 0195015797 9780195015799
OCLC Number: 488430
Description: xv, 262 pages illustrations 23 cm
Contents: Enslavement, acculturation, and African survivals --
Culture --
The slave family --
Rebels and runaways --
Plantation stereotypes and roles --
Plantation realities --
Slave personality types.
Responsibility: [by] John W. Blassingame.

Abstract:

This volume is one of the first historical studies of slavery in the United States to be presented from the perspective of the enslaved. This work contradicted those historians who had interpreted history to suggest that African American slaves were docile and submissive who enjoyed the benefits of a paternalistic master-slave relationship on Southern plantations. Using psychology, the author analyzes fugitive slave narratives published in the 19th century to conclude that an independent culture developed among the enslaved and that there were a variety of personality types exhibited by slaves. He asserts that by concentrating on the slave owner, historians have presented a distorted view of plantation life that "strips the slave of any meaningful and distinctive culture, family life, religion, or manhood."

"The plantation was a battlefield where slaves fought masters for physical and psychological survival. Although unlettered, unarmed, and outnumbered, slaves fought in various ways to preserve their manhood." This impressive and original study views the institution of slavery from a new perspective- that of the slaves themselves. The author challenges the timeworn stereotype of the slave as a passive and docile creature who lacked drive, purpose, and responsibility. He traces the development of the slave's personality traits, analyzes the patterns of resistance within the slave community, and proves conclusively that the slave had a rich cultural and family life that was deliberately kept hidden from the eyes of his white masters. Unlike the many accounts that deal with slavery from the outside, this book ventures inside the slave quarters to re-capture the slave's family life, music, religion, and folklore. Using a variety of sources, including the memoirs of former slaves, the author examines the ways that blacks became enslaved, their process of acculturation in the American South, and their deep ties to their African heritage. He shows how the slave was able to control parts of his own life while often wearing the mask of submissiveness required by the harsh realities of the plantation regime. The author draws upon psychological and sociological insights to reinterpret master-slave relationships. He includes the planter's viewpoint and the traveler's impression to create a dimensional portrait of plantation life that effectively separates mythology from historical reality. -- from Book Jacket.

The personality and culture of the plantation slave are investigated from black autobiographies and other historical sources.

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