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American Slavery: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #396)
Europeans, Africans, and American Indians practiced slavery long before the first purchase of a captive African by a white land-owner in the American colonies; that, however, is the image of slavery most prevalent in the minds of Americans today. This Very Short Introduction begins with the Portuguese capture of Africans in the 1400s and traces the development of American ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published November 3rd 2014 by Oxford University Press, USA
(first published August 1st 2014)
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The title of this book is quite misleading - this is no "very short" introduction at all; the book actually comprises many chapters and pages and took a long time for me to get through because there was so much reading. Every chapter also goes into a lot of detail, like for instance how the slaves went about their planting routine - from how they prepared the fields, right down to how they polished rice, which I don't think would have been quite relevant in a "very short introduction" book. ...more
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“Diminishing their intellect was yet another way to justify enslaving African Americans, and it had the added benefit of preserving some types of work for whites, and creating and maintaining clear social and economic boundaries between blacks and whites. In an explicit challenge to African Americans’ intellect, eighteen prominent Massachusetts white men—including John Hancock and Thomas Hutchinson, the governor of the colony—examined Phillis Wheatley in Boston’s Town Hall in 1772 to determine whether she could possibly have produced the poetry she claimed to have written.”
“Jefferson and other whites had constructed a belief system that proclaimed black people their inferiors, then asserted that the alleged lack of intelligence actually rendered black people only suited for manual, mostly agricultural labor. They also contended that Africans’ physical makeup, particularly their black skin, rendered them better able than whites to work in the heat of the South.”More quotes…