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Descendants of Freed Slaves: Working for a Living in Southern Appalachia

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Abstract:

Descendants of Freed Slaves: Working for a Living in Southern Appalachia
Cordelia M. Payne, Doctoral Candidate
Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, Ohio

This case study advances the knowledge of economic challenges of African Americans in Southern Appalachia while jointly revealing life in a time, place, and culture during the Jim Crow south. An African American couple manumitted in colonial Virginia in 1718 documents the migratory movement of their family as freedmen through North Carolina and East Tennessee while examining the emergence of their commercial enterprises during the American Revolution, the pre-Civil War era, Reconstruction, and the early nineteen hundreds.
After the Nat Turner slave rebellion in South Hampton, Virginia in 1831, white supremacy stereotyped all freedmen as dangerous suspected runaways who were worthless, degraded, and menacing to life and property. This family countered the turbulence caused by racism by settling in a small, agricultural Appalachian town called Greeneville, Tennessee, and then pressed forward to become landowners, skilled workers, and small business owners. “Burning bricks” from their family farm gained professional respect from local whites creating the opportunity to brick commercial buildings in 1880 to 1904 that remain part of today’s historic district of downtown Greeneville. Through the economic aspirations of the Negro community came other entrepreneurers engaged in skilled trades, tobacco farming, restaurants, pastry shops, barbershops, grocery stores, draymen, broom making, sley making, and clothing pressers. President Andrew Johnson lived in Greeneville before taking office after Lincoln’s assignation, and upon emancipation, two of Johnson’s personal slaves became entrepreneurers as well. Black entrepreneurialism declined in Greeneville during Industrialization and successive generations chose not to initiate commercial enterprises.
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Association:
Name: 95th Annual Convention
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http://www.asalh.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p436242_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Payne, Cordelia. "Descendants of Freed Slaves: Working for a Living in Southern Appalachia" 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/p436242_index.html>

APA Citation:

Payne, C. , 2010-09-29 "Descendants of Freed Slaves: Working for a Living in Southern Appalachia" 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/p436242_index.html

Publication Type: Individual Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Descendants of Freed Slaves: Working for a Living in Southern Appalachia
Cordelia M. Payne, Doctoral Candidate
Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, Ohio

This case study advances the knowledge of economic challenges of African Americans in Southern Appalachia while jointly revealing life in a time, place, and culture during the Jim Crow south. An African American couple manumitted in colonial Virginia in 1718 documents the migratory movement of their family as freedmen through North Carolina and East Tennessee while examining the emergence of their commercial enterprises during the American Revolution, the pre-Civil War era, Reconstruction, and the early nineteen hundreds.
After the Nat Turner slave rebellion in South Hampton, Virginia in 1831, white supremacy stereotyped all freedmen as dangerous suspected runaways who were worthless, degraded, and menacing to life and property. This family countered the turbulence caused by racism by settling in a small, agricultural Appalachian town called Greeneville, Tennessee, and then pressed forward to become landowners, skilled workers, and small business owners. “Burning bricks” from their family farm gained professional respect from local whites creating the opportunity to brick commercial buildings in 1880 to 1904 that remain part of today’s historic district of downtown Greeneville. Through the economic aspirations of the Negro community came other entrepreneurers engaged in skilled trades, tobacco farming, restaurants, pastry shops, barbershops, grocery stores, draymen, broom making, sley making, and clothing pressers. President Andrew Johnson lived in Greeneville before taking office after Lincoln’s assignation, and upon emancipation, two of Johnson’s personal slaves became entrepreneurers as well. Black entrepreneurialism declined in Greeneville during Industrialization and successive generations chose not to initiate commercial enterprises.


Similar Titles:
Working to Live or Living to Work?: Race, Class and the Politics of Work

I Work to Live, Not Live to Work: How Generation Y Talks About Work, Career, and Work-Life Balance


 
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