By William Dillon Piersen

ISBN-10: 0870235869

ISBN-13: 9780870235863

This ebook examines the improvement of an Afro-American culture in eighteenth-century New England. Piersen matters himself now not with the equipment of slave regulate or the political and social disabilities of bondage, yet with the methods of cultural switch and production from the black bondsman's standpoint. What was once it prefer to be an African immigrant in colonial New England? What attitudes and assumptions underlay the Afro-American reaction to Yankee tradition? What does the advance in the confines of a predominantly white and ethnocentric New England of an Afro-American folks tradition in faith, public rituals, folks arts and crafts, social mores, and day-by-day habit say in regards to the production of yank culture?

On the face of it, the grasp classification referred to as the tunes and slaves danced the beat. Blacks who have been taken into New England's bondage have been sincerely engulfed in a pervasive, narrow-minded Euro-American society that had little interest in fostering Afro-American autonomy. the hot England adventure was once usually merciless, and the numbers by myself recommend it was once one of the such a lot unequal of black/white cultural contacts within the New global. still, regardless of the strictures of bondage, the black Yankees of eighteenth-century New England created a maintaining people tradition in their personal.

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The majority of the new slaves in the northern colonies were young people who had spent long months in slavery far from their villages and homelands. Most were ready to assimilate themselves enough to be comfortable in their new lives, and some were clearly ready to master what they considered valuable in the new culture. Olaudah Equiano recalled in his autobiography a reaction that was probably typical of many of the younger slaves after their first days of adjustment: I could now speak English tolerably well and I perfectly understood everything that was said.

Nonetheless, by 1800, when the black population of New England was almost entirely native-born, the Afro-American years were, culturally speaking, effectively disappearing. Page 23 PART 2 THE FORCES OF ENCULTURATION Page 25 Chapter 3 Family Slavery Unlike elsewhere in the Americas, where black populations considerably Africanized their surrounding societies, the black community of New England had relatively little influence on the development of mainstream Yankee culture. New England's blacks were too small a minority to retain much autonomy or greatly alter white folkways.

Nonetheless, many legitimate black children seem to have been sold away from their mothers by callous masters who wished to avoid the costs of their upbringing. Since the practice of separating white children from their natural parents to follow training and domestic work in other households had been relatively common in seventeenth-century New England, the developing practice of separating black families probably did not seem especially cruel to northern slave owners. 9 Even after the ending of slavery, the tradition of separating black children from their parents so that they could be reared in household service continued.

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Black Yankees: the development of an Afro-American subculture in eighteenth-century New England by William Dillon Piersen


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