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

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  407 ratings  ·  22 reviews

Black Majority won the Albert J. Beveridge Award of the American Historical Association.

Paperback, 346 pages
Published January 7th 1992 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1974)
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John
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
File under: books that everyone interested in Colonial America needs to read. This is one of those rare books that actually managed to hit hard enough to break through a little into the basic story of American history that high school students are getting. One of Wood's main arguments here is that planters in South Carolina intentionally looked for and purchased slaves who already had knowledge and skills in rice cultivation from Africa, knowing that these slaves would bring that knowledge to S. ...more
Dan Gorman
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of the 1970s statistics-heavy social histories, this has to be one of the best written. Peter Wood explains why white planters in South Carolina sought African slave labor, how African slaves brought rice cultivation, immunity to malaria, and West African languages to America, and how increasing tensions between slaves and slave-owners culminated in the Stono Rebellion. This book's discussion of disease and sickle cell genetic resistance to malaria anticipates the environmental and biological ...more
Ricardo
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was truly the ONLY required reading I had at UCF that was worth the time. Such a great and well researched piece. For anyone looking at how prejudice, etc. toward African Americans came about in America, this book is a MUST!!!
Bob Newman
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The skeleton in the closet

If you visit South Carolina today you can visit the stately homes of Charleston and Beaufort, see a few old plantations with their drives overhung by Spanish moss, walk around quaint gardens with turtles on logs, and eat shrimp with grits, crab cakes, fried tomatoes and all. The graceful ambience overshadows a very bleak history of slavery and oppression. Of course, the rest of America is not free from the same, but South Carolina experienced an extreme form because for
...more
Paul
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In his book, Black Majority, Peter H. Wood writes about the largest portion of colonial South Carolina’s population: black slaves. The author traces the development of slavery in South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion in 1739. Wood argues that “Negro slaves played a significant and often determinative part in the evolution of the colony.” (xvii)
The book is written thematically with its themes proceeding in rough chronological order and is divided into four main parts. The first
...more
Tim
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wood's Black Majority describes the lives of blacks in colonial South Carolina (including a chapter on language). In doing so it also opens up a description of white life, economics and farming, religion, relations with Native Americans, health, law and rebellion. It is a central book to understanding the colonial south, its conclusions have become the accepted history and the basis for further investigations. To get at the lives of slaves, who keep no written records, he has to work in from ...more
Peter
May 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school, history
Read for a history class. More accurately, glanced.
Kim
I remember reading this in undergrad. It talks about the health of the slaves, the gullah language, and the stono rebellion and the consequences.
Karen
Feb 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dissertation
First published in 1974 (reissued 1996) 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.

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. Wood gravitated toward studying South Carolina not because it hadn't received any attention, but because it had a well over a 50% majority
...more
Will
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you have ever wondered why South Carolina is as it is, this book will settle the question for you. John C. Calhoun was expressing a very real fear that prevailed among the white ruling class. They knew that the fact that they were treating the majority of people in the state in a completely beastly manner might prompt a similarly cruel reaction. Hence the fear and the extremism.

Grant writes in his memoirs that in the north, there was widespread disappointment that Sherman's troops did not
...more
Sharon Bisaha
I discovered Black Majority amongst the bibliography of a Great Course on Colonial America. The book is a scholarly, well documented description of Black culture and life in South Carolina from its founding to ~1740. During this time Blacks provided both skilled and unskilled labor, significantly contributing to the colony's success. As a scholarly book it was sometimes dry but interesting, nonetheless.
Marsha
Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This classic look at slavery is still relevant today. The way we view slaves changed dramatically with the research of Peter Wood, and much new scholarship is based on his original findings. A must-read for the professional historian or anyone interested in South Carolina, Colonial America, or the Atlantic World.
Amy Ariel
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although not a contemporary story, Black Majority adds significantly to current conversations about race in the States. I read this book for a course in college at Grinnell a very long time ago and what I learned from it continues to be relevant.
Andee Nero
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm so glad I got to reread this for exams.
Katie
Fascinating look at a place and time where black-white relations in America were more respectful and fluid than we're used to seeing.
Bradley
Jan 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Groundbreaking scholarship essential to an understanding of the colonial Southeast. Coupled with Alan Gallay's The Indian Slave Trade, Black Majority provides a complete picture of early Carolina.
AskHistorians
Discusses the early history of African slaves in Colonial South Carolina to the plantation period.
Jacobo2008
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is very good to get to know the reality of black africans slaves in South Carolina.
From 167o to the Stono Rebelio in 1739.
It gives a lot of information of South Carolina that is a very cocrete an specific reality.
Different to any other State,
James Carroll
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a classic work in the history of slavery in North America. This was on the required reading list for my graduate program, and it remains a work I continue to refer to.
Doris Raines
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THIS A EXTREMELY GOOD TITLE AND BOOK.
GrinnolaAlum
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another book from Professor H's AA History class. This book challenged every stereotype I learned about enslaved people prior to taking Prof. H's African-American History course. Before that class slavery meant people on a cotton plantation ripped away from all their cultures, brought to America and taught everything they knew about agriculture and farming by white slave owners. How little I knew about my ancestors. My professor called this the clean slate view of enslaved people and said that ...more
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“The increasing white obsession with physical violation, therefore, must be taken as an integral part of the white minority's wider struggle for social control. The degree of shared interest and unavoidable intimacy which had held the two races in uneasy coexistence during the proprietary period was breaking down. Slaves were becoming a more numerous and distinctive group, and their very real efforts toward social and economic self-assertion prompted the anxious white minority to fantasies of ravishment and to concrete measures of containment.” 0 likes
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