Slave flight in the antebellum South did not always coincide with the political geography of freedom. Indeed, spaces and places within the South attracted the largest number of fugitive slaves, especially southern cities, where runaway slaves attempted to pass for free blacks. Disguising themselves within the slaveholding states rather than risk long-distance flight attempts to formally free territories such as the northern us, Canada, and Mexico, fugitive slaves in southern cities attempted to escape slavery by crafting clandestine lives for themselves in what I am calling “informal” freedom—a freedom that did not exist on paper and had no legal underpinnings, but that existed in practice, in the shadows. This article briefly examines the experiences of fugitive slaves who fled to southern cities in the antebellum period (roughly 1800–1860). It touches upon themes such as the motivations for fleeing to urban areas, the networks that facilitated such flight attempts, and, most importantly, the lot of runaway slaves after arrival in urban areas.
Between the American Revolution and the outbreak of the Civil War almost a million American-born slaves were relocated from the Upper South and eastern seaboard to the ever-expanding southern interior. An outpouring of historical research has greatly contributed to our understanding of the political, economic, demographic, and business aspects of interregional slave migration in the antebellum period, but as yet relatively few studies have examined the ways in which early-nineteenth-century slaves anticipated and reacted to the prospect of interstate migration, the ways in which they attempted to resist or negotiate the terms of their migration, or their motivations for doing so. Drawing from slave narratives and interviews, travel accounts, southern newspapers, and plantation records, this study briefly explores the ways in which slave migrants (and their loved ones) experienced and dealt with the news of forcible removal across state lines in early-nineteenth-century America, with a particular emphasis on the theme of family separation as a motivating factor behind their actions and reactions.
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Journal of Global Slavery announces an annual prize of € 500 for excellence and originality in a major work on any theme related to global slavery.
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Journal of Global Slavery (JGS) aims to advance and promote a greater understanding of slavery and post-slavery from comparative, transregional, and/or global perspectives, as well as methodological and theoretical aspects of its study. It especially underscores the global and globalizing nature of slavery in world history.
As a practice in which human beings were held captive for an indefinite period of time, coerced into extremely dependent and exploitative power relationships, denied rights (including potentially rights over their labor, lives, and bodies), could be bought and sold, were vulnerable to forced relocation by various means, and forced to labor against their will, slavery in one form or another has existed in innumerable societies throughout history.
JGS fosters a global view of slavery by integrating the latest scholarship from around the world and providing an interdisciplinary platform for scholars working on slavery in regions as diverse as ancient Rome, Pre-Colombian Mexico, Han dynasty China, the Ottoman Empire, the antebellum United States, and twenty-first-century Mali.
The journal also promotes a view of slavery as a globalizing force in the development of world civilizations. Global history focuses heavily upon the global movement of people, goods, and ideas, with a particular emphasis on processes of integration and divergence in the human experience. Slavery straddles all of these focal points, as it connected and integrated various societies through economic and power-based relationships, and simultaneously divided societies by class, race, ethnicity, and cultural group.
JGS is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes articles based on original research, book reviews, short notes and communications, and special issues. It especially invites articles that situate studies of slavery (whether historical or modern-day forms) in explicitly comparative, transregional, and/or global contexts. Themes may include (but are not limited to):
• the different and changing social, cultural, and legal meanings of slavery across time and space;
• the roles that slavery has played in the development of intersecting and interdependent relationships between societies throughout world history;
• comparative practices of enslavement (through warfare, indebtedness, trade, etc.);
• human trafficking and forced migration;
• transregional dialogues and the movement of ideas and practices of slavery and anti-slavery across space;
• slave cultures and cultural transfer;
• political, economic, and ideological causes and effects of slavery;
• religion and slavery;
• abolition, emancipation, and manumission practices from global or comparative perspectives;
• the psychological effects, memories, legacies, and representations of slave practices.
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The study of slavery has grown strongly in recent years, as scholars working in several disciplines have cultivated broader perspectives on enslavement in a wide variety of contexts and settings.
Critical Readings on Global Slavery offers students and researchers a rich collection of previously published works by some of the most preeminent scholars in the field. With contributions covering various regions and time periods, this anthology encourages readers to view slave systems across time and space as both ubiquitous and interconnected, and introduces those who are interested in the study of human bondage to some of the most important and widely cited works in slavery studies.