This Species of Property: Slave Life and Culture in the Old South

By Leslie Howard Owens | Go to book overview

slave Solomon Northup expressed it like this: "He [a slaveholder] looked upon a colored man, not as a human being, responsible to his Creator for the small talent entrusted to him, but as a 'chattel personal,' as mere live property, no better, except in value, then his mule or dog." There were exceptions to this observation, but for the slave his status as property was a dominating consideration.

I would like to offer what for some have become the traditional thanks for assistance or advice given in the preparation of one's study. Traditional recognition is not my intent here, and the people that I mention will understand this. Professor Hal Bridges listened to my early thoughts in his office with that narrow window. Occasionally the sun shone there. The "Dean" helped too even when he didn't know it, and Ron N. and Mark W. at least didn't discourage me. Gary H. was a help too. I am grateful to all of them. My engaging wife, Irma, knows how many thanks I owe her. In the final stages of publication two people at Oxford were most gracious: Stephanie Golden and Susan Rabiner. I fully appreciate their assistance. In a larger sense, too, I owe a great deal of thanks to those black historians and researchers whose earlier efforts continue to reveal their importance as the years pass.

Ann Arbor, Michigan L.H.O.

-viii-

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This Species of Property: Slave Life and Culture in the Old South
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - Drawing the Color Line 7
  • 2 - into the Fields-- Life, Disease, and Labor in the Old South 19
  • 3 - Blackstrap Molasses and Cornbread--Diet and Its Impact on Behavior 50
  • 4 - The Logic of Resistance 70
  • 5 - The Household Slave 106
  • 6 - The Black Slave Driver 121
  • 7 - The Shadow of the Slave Quarters 136
  • 8 - The Rhythm of Culture 164
  • 9 - A Family Folk 182
  • 10 - This Property is Condemned 214
  • Manuscript Sources 227
  • Notes 237
  • Index 285
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