Deconstructing a Manumission Document: Mary Stafford’s Free Paper

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2012-04-30 23:21Z by Steven

Deconstructing a Manumission Document: Mary Stafford’s Free Paper

The Georgia Historical Quarterly
Volume 89, Number 3 (Fall 2005)
pages 285-317

Mary R. Bullard

This article examines the manumission document of Mary Stafford. In early nineteenth-century Georgia, manumitting one’s slave property was a personal matter loosely regulated by the state. In exchange for a one dollar token sum, Robert Stafford conveyed to Belton Copp and his heirs a piece of real estate in downtown Norwich, Connecticut, to be held in trust for Armand, Robert, and Mary. If these legatees died without legitimate heirs, then Stafford’s estate was to comply with Georgia law and go to his heirs-at-law equally, meaning his white niece and nephews, children of his two sisters, who resided in Georgia.

In early nineteenth-century Georgia, manumitting one’s slave property was a personal matter loosely regulated by the state. Bonds of affection between slaveowners and their housekeepers or mistresses were by no means unusual, and manumission was sometimes the reward for faithful service. Reversing an earlier trend, however, by the 1820s manumission became illegal in Georgia unless followed by immediate expulsion of the enfranchised from the state. A slaveowner’s personal ability to manumit had been proscribed as early as 1801, and owners attempting to “free negro slaves, mulatto, mustizo, or any other persons . . . of color” deemed slaves, had been wrarned that the only way to do so was to apply to the legislature. The individual runaway raised ominous images of thievery and rebellion. Nonetheless, fugitive slaves managed to make their way to areas in free states, where they found work, hopeful that former owners would not find them. As the…

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Blacks of the Rosary: Memory and History in Minas Gerais, Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion on 2012-04-30 02:12Z by Steven

Blacks of the Rosary: Memory and History in Minas Gerais, Brazil

Penn State University Press
304 pages
6 x 9, 8 illustrations/5 maps
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-02693-0
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-02694-7

Elizabeth W. Kiddy, Associate Professor of History and Director of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania

Blacks of the Rosary tells the story of the Afro-Brazilian communities that developed within lay religious brotherhoods dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary in Minas Gerais. It shows how these brotherhoods functioned as a social space in which Africans and their descendants could rebuild a communal identity based on a shared history of an African past and an ongoing devotional practice, thereby giving rise to enduring transnational cultures that have survived to the present day. In exploring this intersection of community, identity, and memory, the book probes the Portuguese and African contributions to the brotherhoods in Part One. Part Two traces the changes and continuities within the organizations from the early eighteenth century to the end of the Brazilian Empire, and the book concludes in Part Three with discussion of the twentieth-century brotherhoods and narratives of the participants in brotherhood festivals in the 1990s. In a larger sense, the book serves as a case study through which readers can examine the strategies that Afro-Brazilians used to create viable communities in order to confront the asymmetry of power inherent in the slave societies of the Americas and their economic and social marginalization in the twentieth century.

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Lawrence Powell delivers a gripping history of New Orleans in ‘Accidental City’

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2012-04-30 00:10Z by Steven

Lawrence Powell delivers a gripping history of New Orleans in ‘Accidental City’

New Orleans Times-Picayune

Chris Waddington

At first, I was disappointed to hear that Lawrence Powell’s history of the Crescent City ended with the Battle of New Orleans. I wanted the Tulane University scholar to bring me a little closer to the present.

My opinion changed a few pages into “The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans.”
Powell’s splendid time machine of a book swept me into a detailed account of the city’s rise from swampy colonial outpost to strategic linchpin during the War of 1812. Populated with vividly sketched characters, Powell’s history fits individual actors into a coherent, geopolitical narrative that spans centuries and continents — no easy task when your cast includes Enlightenment scientists, loud-mouthed market women, French-Canadian voyageurs, Ursuline nuns, slave artisans and Gen. Andrew Jackson hoisted on the shoulders of cheering Baratarians…

…The birth of a distinctive Creole society wasn’t fast or tidy. Powell writes about free people of color who owned slaves. He writes about back-of-town bars where people of all races mixed. He describes how Ursuline nuns recruited the wives of slaveholders to serve as godparents for their baptized chattels — in opposition to prevailing law. He writes about brutally suppressed slave revolts — and the free manumission of black concubines and their mixed-race offspring. He catches all the high and low notes as New Orleanians improvised an American future — and he makes it clear that America would be a very different place without the city’s contributions.

Read the entire review here.

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