By Jeffrey R. Kerr-Ritchie
Drawing upon a rich array of sources, Kerr-Ritchie situates the struggles of newly freed people within the shifting parameters of an older slave world, examines the prolonged agricultural depression and structural transformation the tobacco economy underwent between the 1870s and 1890s, and surveys the effects of these various changes on former masters as well as former slaves. While the number of older freedpeoplewho owned small parcels of land increased phenomenally during this period, he notes, so too did the number of freedom's younger generation who deserted the region's farms and plantations for Virginia's towns and cities. Both these processes contributed to the gradual transformation of the tobacco region in particular and the state in general.
- Chapel Hill, NC