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Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Richard Bulliet on The Americas, the Atlantic, and Africa, 1530-1770

In Academia, Arts & Letters, Historicism, History, Humanities, liberal arts, Pedagogy, Scholarship, Teaching on August 1, 2018 at 6:45 am

In the following lecture, Richard Bulliet discusses the Americas, the Atlantic, and Africa during the period of 1530-1170:

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Outline and Summary of Sylvia R. Frey’s Water from the Rock

In American History, Arts & Letters, Book Reviews, History, Politics, Slavery on February 20, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Allen Mendenhall

Sylvia R. Frey, Water from the Rock: Black Resistance in a Revolutionary Age (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1991) 

ONE

The Prerevolutionary South: Foundations of Culture and Community

This chapter describes the landscape and characteristics of the South before the Revolution.  The Chesapeake was much different from the lower South, which depended on the production of rice for economic competition.  Rice cultivation was common in states like South Carolina and Georgia, but less common in states like North Carolina.  Virginia and North Carolina grew tobacco.  In some places in Virginia, the slave population equaled the white population; in some places in South Carolina, slaves outnumbered whites.  Whites and blacks worked together and lived in close proximity, but they developed different cultural norms.  Big homes, churches, and courthouses served to unify the white community.  Symbols of power like plantation homes served to unite whites.  The bigger the plantations, the greater the separation between masters and slaves.  Criminal codes for slaves expanded in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as the slave population increased.  The Stono Rebellion of 1735 led Southern states to pass laws to deter slave insurrection.  County courts retained ultimate punishment power over slaves.  The most common religion in the South at this time was Anglicanism, although religion generally was spread out and not institutionalized.  The gentry tended to be Anglican.  The first effort to Christianize slaves in the South came from a missionary sect of Anglicans called the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.  This sect evangelized to blacks from roughly 1705-1760, at which point other denominations such as the Baptists and Methodists took up that role.  As whites gradually sought to ensure their dominance through institutions, laws, and architecture, they also allowed slaves to cultivate a unique culture.  The emerging black culture fused West African traditions with various, competing African American practices and with a new religious culture centering on the church.  By the late eighteenth century, most slaves in America had been born in America.  Slaves in the lowcountry, especially in the coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia, were able to nourish and sustain an African-influenced culture.  Family became the site of cultural cohesiveness for slaves and even helped to determine which African customs to retain and which to discard.  By the eve of the Revolution, the monogamous slave family was not an established model partially because slaves lacked the legal and religious protocols for marriage.  Polygyny was common among slaves and in keeping with West African traditions.  Many slaves sought to preserve West African religious traditions.  Gradually slaves adopted a Christian religion alongside but not within white Christianity.  The growth of organized religion among slaves was a product of the Revolutionary era and was spearheaded by slaves themselves.  The synthesis of republican ideals and religious sentiment emanating from the Great Awakening made for the budding antislavery movement.   Read the rest of this entry »

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