Land and Labor, 1866-1867

Synopsis

Land and Labor, 1866-1867 examines the remaking of the South's labor system in the tumultuous aftermath of emancipation. Using documents selected from the National Archives, this volume of Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation depicts the struggle of unenfranchised and impoverished ex-slaves to control their own labor, establish their families as viable economic units, and secure independent possession of land. Among the topics addressed are the dispossession of settlers in the Sherman reserve, the reordering of labor on plantation and farm, nonagricultural labor, new relations of credit and debt, long-distance labor migration, and the efforts of former slaves to rent, purchase, and homestead land. The documents--many of them in the freedpeople's own words--speak eloquently for themselves, while the editors' interpretive essays provide context and illuminate major themes.