Newcomers in Chains: Slave Migrants in the American South, 1820-1860
01 / 2011 - 12 / 2013
Tussen 1820 en 1860 vond er in het Amerikaanse Zuiden een grootschalige gedwongen migratiegolf plaats van Afro-Amerikaanse slaven. Dit onderzoek stelt zich ten doel om de ervaringen, en assimilatie- en integratieprocessen van deze slavenmigranten te achterhalen.
During the antebellum period (roughly 1820-1860), the American South witnessed a massive reallocation of slave labor following the end of the Atlantic slave trade. First, almost a million American-born slaves from the 'older' slave states in the east were uprooted and sold to the expanding Deep South. Second, slaves were increasingly scattered locally through estate divisions and local sales. And finally, slaves from small farms were increasingly sold or hired out in the burgeoning cities of the region. The forced migration of American-born slaves in the antebellum South has received relatively little attention from historians,however. How did American-born slaves experience forced migration in its various forms during the nineteenth century? To what extent and by what means did they adapt to new American slave communities, work regimes, and master-slave relations? How were their relations with other slaves (including other forced migrants) characterized, and to what extent did domestic migration contribute to the development of broader slave-based identities in the American South? Newcomers in Chains aims to answer these questions by examining the migration experiences of American slaves from a comparative perspective. Contrasting the experiences of long-distance, local, and urban slave migrants born in the American South, this study will address and underscore three broad themes. First, it will examine the ways in which slave migrants attempted to rebuild their lives?the extent to which they assimilated to new slave communities, adjusted to new masters and work regimes, resisted, etc. Second, this study focuses on the consequences of forced migration for identity formation among American-born blacks during the antebellum period. It especially underscores the importance of regional and fluid identities in the development of antebellum slave cultures. Third, this study will underscore the different experiences of slave migrants according to age, sex, regional background, and especially type of migration.