Black Slaveowners: Free Black Slave Masters in South Carolina, 1790–1860

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A mulatto slave told his free mulatto friend about the planned revolt and asked what to do. The mulatto told him to tell his white slavemaster. The police seized the leaders and participants, who were held in irons in the city jail. Thirty-five slaves were executed, and more than 30 blacks were deported from the state. Black sympathizers were prohibited from dressing in black and wearing black crape to mourn the executed. The bodies of the executed were dissected by the city surgeon!

Black Slaveowners: Free Black Slave Masters in South Carolina, 1790-1860

For the Negro elite to take part in a slave insurrection was unthinkable because they had their own slaves and wealth to lose. The black elite continued to join churches of primarily white denominations, such as St. Philip's Episcopal Church, and they frequently lived on the same streets as white families. Vesey, on the other hand, identified with slaves and he belonged to the African Methodist church. See the map of Vesey's Charleston. In fact, the lighter-colored mulatto families distinguished themselves from the darker-colored free black families, who had their own exclusionary club the Brown Fellowship and who in turn separated themselves from the dark-skinned slaves.

Many free mulattos had sought refuge from the slave revolt in Santo Domingo where they had lost land and slaves. Consequently, they were unlikely to identify with slaves, their fellow Africans. After Vesey's attempted rebellion, the Citadel state-run military academy was built just outside of the historic city to protect against future slave revolts.

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Today, the original Citadel is a hotel and a current one is on the northside. I stated earlier that I couldn't fathom how this could occur. My thinking was, "how could black knowing the cruely that existed under this system participate in this sort of oppression. I gave this a three because the book is well documented probably too much for many and addresses some of the questions I have. Koger meticulously cross-references census data with the local tax roles in an attempt probably to fend off any criticism that the case is overstated.


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While there are personal stories included, even they read like what I envision a medical case history reading. Aug 26, Rosa rated it it was amazing. I saw this book listed on a friend's page on Facebook and decided to read it.

It really was a very good historically poignant book! It was very heart-wrenching to read how some people had to decide which family member to purchase to guarante their freedom. It also opened my eyes to how many blacks, which I long suspected, did indeed partake in the for profit slave trade. This is the sort of history that is not taught but which indeed needs to be told.

Black slaveowners : free Black slave masters in South Carolina, 1790-1860

I would highly recommend this book to anyone I saw this book listed on a friend's page on Facebook and decided to read it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the entire picture of slavery or to those who simply want to expand their knowledge of how slavery impacted blacks financially. Dec 16, Karen marked it as to-read.

Free blacks who owned slaves

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    Black Slaveowners: Free Black Slave Masters in South Carolina, by Larry Koger

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