By Richard S. Dunn
Forty years in the past, after ebook of his pathbreaking booklet Sugar and Slaves, Richard Dunn started a thorough research of 2 thousand slaves dwelling on plantations, one in North the US and one within the Caribbean. Digging deeply into the documents, he has reconstructed the person lives and collective reports of 3 generations of slaves at the Mesopotamia sugar property in Jamaica and the Mount ethereal plantation in tidewater Virginia, to appreciate the starkly diversified types slavery may well take. Dunn’s wonderful success is a wealthy and compelling historical past of bondage in very varied Atlantic global settings.
From the mid-eighteenth century to emancipation in 1834, lifestyles in Mesopotamia was once formed and stunted by way of lethal paintings regimens, rampant illness, and dependence at the slave alternate for brand new employees. At Mount ethereal, the place the inhabitants constantly multiplied till emancipation in 1865, the “surplus” slaves have been offered or moved to far-off paintings websites, and households have been regularly damaged up. Over 2 hundred of those Virginia slaves have been despatched 8 hundred miles to the Cotton South.
In the genealogies that Dunn has painstakingly assembled, we will hint a Mesopotamia fieldhand via each level of her bondage, and distinction her harsh remedy with the fortunes of her rebellious mulatto son and shrewdpermanent quadroon granddaughter. We tune a Mount ethereal craftworker via a stormy lifetime of interracial intercourse, break out, and family members breakup. the main points of people’ lives permit us to understand the whole event of either slave groups as they worked and enjoyed, and eventually grew to become free.
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Extra resources for A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia
There were many new young adults in their twenties and thirties, and most of the numerous people over age forty in 1762 were dead. The labor force was heavily male-dominated because Barham’s attorneys had bought 117 new male slaves and only 43 new female slaves since 1762. The concentration of seventy-one young men in the twenty-ﬁve-to-thirtyfour age bracket is especially notable. Most of these young men had been imported very recently, between 1784 and 1786. Relatively few had been born on the estate.
Appendix 4 shows that the age structure was now considerably more pyramidal than it had been in 1762, and no longer distorted by the recent addition of new slaves as in 1789. Despite the fact that 255 slaves had been imported to the estate since 1789, Mesopotamia-born people now dominated the workforce. The proportion of young children on the estate was larger than in 1762 or 1789, although still strikingly small. The proportion of older men and women was also greater. In 1833 there were seventy-nine slaves above the age of ﬁ fty, compared with thirty-six in 1789 and thirty-four in 1762.
Appendix 3 shows the Mesopotamia population pyramid in 1789. The changes since 1762 are dramatic. There were many new young adults in their twenties and thirties, and most of the numerous people over age forty in 1762 were dead. The labor force was heavily male-dominated because Barham’s attorneys had bought 117 new male slaves and only 43 new female slaves since 1762. The concentration of seventy-one young men in the twenty-ﬁve-to-thirtyfour age bracket is especially notable. Most of these young men had been imported very recently, between 1784 and 1786.
A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia by Richard S. Dunn