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Book Cover
Author Dunn, Richard S., author

Title A tale of two plantations : slave life and labor in Jamaica and Virginia / Richard S. Dunn
Published Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2014


Description 1 online resource (x, 540 pages)
Contents Prologue -- Mesopotamia versus Mount Airy : the demographic contrast -- Sarah Affir and her Mesopotamia family -- Winney Grimshaw and her Mount Airy family -- "Dreadful idlers" in the Mesopotamia cane fields -- "Doing their duty" at Mount Airy -- The Moravian Christian community at Mesopotamia -- The exodus from Mount Airy to Alabama -- Mesopotamia versus Mount Airy : the social contrast -- Emancipation
Summary "This book reconstructs the individual lives and collective experiences of some 2,000 slaves on two plantations--Mesopotamia sugar estate in western Jamaica and Mount Airy Plantation in tidewater Virginia--during the final three generations of slavery in Jamaica and the USA. It also compares Mesopotamia with Mount Airy to demonstrate the differences between slave life in the British West Indies and slave life in the Antebellum US South. The chief difference was demographic. Mesopotamia had a continually shrinking slave population, with many more deaths than births, which was standard throughout the British Caribbean. Mount Airy had a continually expanding slave population, with many more births than deaths, which was standard throughout the Old South. At Mesopotamia the slaveholders imported their laborers from Africa, worked them to death and replaced them with new Africans, so that family life was perpetually stunted. At Mount Airy, where the slaves were all American-born, the slaveholders sold their surplus people or moved them to distant work sites, so that families were routinely broken up. On both plantations numerous individual slaves are observed in action, a mix of leaders and followers, rebels and conformists. A principal theme is slave motherhood and intergenerational family formation; another is the impact of field labor upon health and longevity. The Mesopotamia people engaged with Moravian missionaries and responded to two major Jamaican slave rebellions, while 218 of the Mount Airy people migrated to Alabama as cotton hands. The book concludes with emancipation in Jamaica and the USA. Never before have two slave communities from differing regions in America been portrayed over a long time period in such full detail"-- Provided by publisher
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes In English
Print version record
Subject Plantation life -- Jamaica -- History
Plantation life -- Virginia -- History
Slaves -- Jamaica -- Social conditions
Slaves -- Virginia -- Social conditions
Slaves -- Health and hygiene -- Jamaica
Slaves -- Health and hygiene -- Virginia
POLITICAL SCIENCE -- Public Policy -- Cultural Policy.
SOCIAL SCIENCE -- Anthropology -- Cultural.
SOCIAL SCIENCE -- Popular Culture.
HISTORY -- United States -- State & Local -- South (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV)
Plantation life.
Slaves -- Health and hygiene.
Slaves -- Social conditions.
Mesopotamia (Jamaica : Plantation)
Mount Airy (King William County, Va.)
Jamaica -- Mesopotamia (Plantation)
Virginia -- Mount Airy (King William County)
Genre/Form History.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 9780674735620