Citation

Precarious Transactions: The Slave Market, Quests for Freedom, and Black Economic Empowerment in the Antebellum South.

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Abstract:

My paper argues that slave market transactions and enslaved people’s decisions to purchase their freedom often constituted the initial steps towards black economic autonomy before emancipation and laid the intellectual groundwork necessary for black economic empowerment in the post-Emancipation era. As enslaved African-Americans overheard their owners talk about selling friends and loved ones, as they awaited sale day, and as they stood upon auction blocks, slaves developed sophisticated understandings of value, debt, and credit, knowledge they later used when negotiating the terms upon which they would secure their liberty. Enslaved people learned important lessons about the ways race shaped their economic and contractual vulnerability. In most southern states slaves could not enter into contracts, and enslaved people came to recognize the precarious nature of the financial negotiations and agreements they made with white southerners who could and did violate the terms of these transactions. As a consequence of their encounters with the southern economy, with white southerners who controlled capital in the region, and with the legal institutions that upheld and dissolved their agreements, enslaved African-Americans developed the caution and pragmatism necessary to endure some of the financial challenges they would encounter after emancipation. Drawing upon slave narratives, slaveholders’ correspondence, nineteenth century newspapers, and abolitionist texts, this paper aims to show that through the very process of commodification and enslavement African-Americans acquired the knowledge necessary to seek and secure economic independence for themselves and their families.
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Association:
Name: 95th Annual Convention
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http://www.asalh.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p436135_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Jones-Rogers, Stephanie. "Precarious Transactions: The Slave Market, Quests for Freedom, and Black Economic Empowerment in the Antebellum South." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, Sep 29, 2010 <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p436135_index.html>

APA Citation:

Jones-Rogers, S. , 2010-09-29 "Precarious Transactions: The Slave Market, Quests for Freedom, and Black Economic Empowerment in the Antebellum South." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p436135_index.html

Publication Type: Individual Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: My paper argues that slave market transactions and enslaved people’s decisions to purchase their freedom often constituted the initial steps towards black economic autonomy before emancipation and laid the intellectual groundwork necessary for black economic empowerment in the post-Emancipation era. As enslaved African-Americans overheard their owners talk about selling friends and loved ones, as they awaited sale day, and as they stood upon auction blocks, slaves developed sophisticated understandings of value, debt, and credit, knowledge they later used when negotiating the terms upon which they would secure their liberty. Enslaved people learned important lessons about the ways race shaped their economic and contractual vulnerability. In most southern states slaves could not enter into contracts, and enslaved people came to recognize the precarious nature of the financial negotiations and agreements they made with white southerners who could and did violate the terms of these transactions. As a consequence of their encounters with the southern economy, with white southerners who controlled capital in the region, and with the legal institutions that upheld and dissolved their agreements, enslaved African-Americans developed the caution and pragmatism necessary to endure some of the financial challenges they would encounter after emancipation. Drawing upon slave narratives, slaveholders’ correspondence, nineteenth century newspapers, and abolitionist texts, this paper aims to show that through the very process of commodification and enslavement African-Americans acquired the knowledge necessary to seek and secure economic independence for themselves and their families.


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What Freedom Means to Us: Reconsiderations of Freedom by Black Youths in the Jim Crow South

Democracy, Economic Crisis, and Market Oriented Reforms. Observations from Indonesia and South Korea since the Asian Financial Crisis

“A Slave in New York:” Freedom and Precariousness in Antebellum Slave Narratives


 
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