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Editorial Reviews. Review. “Mr. Wood has gone beyond any previous study of the history of Black Majority - Kindle edition by Peter Wood. Download it once.
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Jun 14, Kim added it. I remember reading this in undergrad. It talks about the health of the slaves, the gullah language, and the stono rebellion and the consequences.

Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion

Sep 30, Paul rated it really liked it. In his book, Black Majority, Peter H. The author traces the development of slavery in South Carolina from through the Stono Rebellion in The first part of the book focuses on the early years of the colony and the first colonists. The first colonists, finding their opportunities in Barbados for land declining, brought black slaves with them to South Carolina. These slaves contributed to the development of the colony through their skills in herding and, most importantly, by introducing rice cultivation, which became the staple of the colony.

The slaves were well suited to life in the region due to its similarities with West Africa and their higher degree of immunity to malaria and yellow fever in comparison to their white counterparts. The second part of the book describes the way in which African slaves served to develop the economy of South Carolina and the way in which slave culture developed.

Black contributions to the colony included experience with botanicals and working as guides and as fishermen. As the slave population grew, the slaves were able to maintain and develop a distinctive culture that included a unique form of speech called Gullah.


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In the third part of his book, Wood describes the growing tensions between the black and white populations of South Carolina. The slaves in South Carolina were able to use their skills in the early decades of the colony to improve their personal economic well-being. This proved threatening to white landowners, and as whites found themselves out-numbered by black slaves they became more fearful that their slaves might turn to violence and sought to exercise more control over them.

St. Louis is no longer a majority black city. What’s next? – hornderliacris.tk

Slaves opposed white efforts to control them by running away. In the final part of the book, Wood discusses the efforts that were made by colonial officials to codify the regulation of slave discipline on the plantation during the early eighteenth century.


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  8. The efforts of whites to exercise more control over their slaves is described in juxtaposition to efforts among the slaves to resist white dominance including independent economic activity and simply working inefficiently. These tensions reached a tipping point in with the Stono Rebellion. The book has two main pivotal moments. The first of these is the introduction of rice by African slaves. In the early days of the colony, it was common for slave owners to expect slaves to work for their own subsistence in addition to their duties working in the forests or herding cattle.

    Many of these slaves began cultivating rice in the marshy waters of South Carolina and their owners took note. Rice was adopted as a staple crop and the slave population grew rapidly, even surpassing the white population. During this rebellion slaves escaped their plantations, captured guns and ammunition and moved south through the colony gathering recruits and terrorizing plantation owners. The rebels intended on escaping to St. Augustine in Spanish Florida but were defeated at the Edisto River. These include plantation records, newspaper articles, and official acts of the colonial legislature, journals and a variety of secondary sources.

    Wood also utilizes concepts from the fields of linguistics and medical science. For example, Wood argues that Africans were ideal for habitation in the marshy environment of South Carolina because of immunity against malaria and yellow fever.

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    Ironically, this quality had helped Africans to survive in Western Africa but also made them ideal for slavery in South Carolina. This is especially clear in the history of South Carolina where the staple crop that was eventually adopted was introduced by slaves. Slaves imported from the Caribbean and directly from Africa entered the region with skills which were put to use in the colony.

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    The most important skills that African slaves brought to the colony were those related to cultivation of rice. Rice became the staple crop of the colony, and slaves were imported in increasing numbers to cultivate the crop they had introduced. The slave population increased and slaves became the majority around With so many advantages over their white counterparts — numerical superiority and productive skills — why did Africans not enjoy a greater share of the fruits of their labors? Feb 10, Karen rated it liked it Shelves: dissertation. First published in reissued and born out of his dissertation, Peter Wood's work was cutting edge in the world of African American history and remains a foundational text today.

    St. Louis is no longer a majority black city. What's next?

    Wood set out to examine the advent of slavery in the American colonial south, but wished to avoid Virginia which receives the majority of attention from southern scholars. To really get at questions of the black experience in the early colonial years and to prevent reading backwards of 19th century ideas, Wood focused his work on a 50 year period and progressed chronologically. His efforts were worthwhile as he brought to light many aspects of the early colonial experience that did not exist and are surprisingly contradictory to the 19th century black experience and attitudes that tend to pervade modern thought about the condition of slaves.

    There are 2 major areas of focus which Wood tackles: black immunity to malaria and yellow fever, and most importantly the skilled contributions that slaves brought and were sought for in the founding of the South Carolina Colony. At the time Wood was writing his dissertation, science was just emerging on the presence of Sickle cells in certain populations of blacks and its connection to malarial immunity.

    Wood was one of the first historians to break into the mainstream with these discoveries, and today, this is well known information and as such hardly revelatory, though still interesting to read. He also discussed Yellow Fever and the facts that black were not immune to it which was disproven during the Yellow fever epidemic that struck Philadelphia in the s , but again, this information is now quite well known and recent work has been done on this topic See for example: Simon Finger, The Contagious City: The Politics of Public Health in Early Philadelphia.

    The part of his book that remains forgotten by many is the fact that in the early years Africans were recruited first as freeman and very soon as slaves because of the skills that they brought with them from Africa that were not mastered by whites or even unknown. Wood makes a very convincing argument that without Africans, South Carolina never would have gotten their rice industry their most important crop started. European settlers simply did not the experience or the knowledge as he aptly demonstrated to grow it with success.

    Not to mention that unlike their African slaves who had immunity to malaria, European colonists were extremely susceptible to the mosquito born illnesses that thrived in the same conditions needed to grow rice. Emphasis is added here to highlight one of the greatest myths that 19th century slave owners and slave culture perpetuated - that slaves were purchased for their docile, dimwittedness, the less they knew the better. This has led to the modern conception of unskilled Africans from an backward continent that Wood and other scholars such as John Thornton - see Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, have fought so hard to dispel.

    Wood makes it clear that without the skilled labor force from Africa and the sugar colonies, white colonization would not have succeeded. Wood also demonstrated that in the earliest years of colonization there was more of a parity in labor and social relations than after the colony became better established and social divisions hardened. By , blacks became a majority population in South Carolina, and tension in the colony began to mount - white fear became palpable.

    Not ironically as outnumbered whites began to assert social dominance over the majority population by putting in place increasing restrictions, they set an atmosphere ripe for rebellion. Wood spent the final chapters of the book discussing these various restrictions and methods of resistance, concluding with a review of the Stono Rebellion.

    While little in this book is new knowledge to scholars, it is still an excellent resource and a good review. Newcomers to the field will find it more interesting. Jan 10, Tim rated it really liked it. Others were attracted to the myriad educational institutions. Howard University, founded in , was a magnet for professors and students and would become the "capstone of Negro education" by The Preparatory School for Colored Youth, the city's first public high school, attracted college-bound students and teachers, many with advanced degrees. As far back as , churches had operated and supported schools and housed literary and historical societies that promoted critical thinking, reading, lecturing, and social justice.

    African Americans also created hundreds of black-owned businesses and numerous business districts. At the dawn of the 20th century, African Americans had created a cultural and intellectual capital. Washington had relatively few "Jim Crow" laws. However, segregation and racism were endemic. The few existing laws mandated segregation in the public schools and recreation facilities but not in the streetcars and public libraries.

    African Americans, therefore, reacted strongly to President Wilson's institution of segregation in all of the federal government agencies. Clashes between African Americans and European Americans reached a fever pitch during the July race riot, when women and men fought back against violent whites, giving another meaning to the term "New Negro," a term usually associated with the cultural renaissance of the s and s.

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    In , the same year that President Franklin Roosevelt began to end segregation in the federal government, the young black men of the New Negro Alliance instituted "Don't Buy Where You Can't Work" campaigns against racist hiring practices in white-owned stores in predominantly black neighborhoods. The Washington chapter of the National Negro Congress also organized against police brutality and segregation in recreation beginning in In Howard University law student Pauli Murray led coeds in a sit-in at the Little Palace cafeteria, a white-trade-only business near 14th and U streets, NW, an area that was largely African American.


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