"Dunway's attempt to present a comprehensive view of slavery (and freedom) in Appalachia is to be lauded ... Dunway's book breaks new ground." - Appalachian Journal
"Dunaway's volumes raise important questions and give provocative answers about the experience of slavery in nineteenth-century America. In particular, the findings of The African American Family will contribute to the ongoing debate about the nature of slavery on small plantations and farms." - Journal of Interdisciplanary History, Jane Turner Censer
"...impressive..." - Appalachian Heritage
"This book is a valuable contribution to the historiography of antebellum slavery and our understanding of the challenges that African American families faced before, during, and after emancipation.... It is well-researched, engaging, persuasive, and extremely thorough. Dunaway handles her sources, and the subject, with expertise and great sensitivity. She is to be praised for an outstanding and important piece of work." - America Studien/American Studies
Wilma Dunaway contends that studies of the U.S. Slave family have been flawed by neglect of small plantations and export zones and exaggeration of slave agency. Using data on population trends and Slave narratives, she identifies several profit-maximizing strategies that owners implemented to disrupt and endanger African-American families, including forced labor migrations, structural interference in marriages and childcare, sexual exploitation of women, shortfalls in provision of basic survival needs, and ecological risks. This book is unique in its examination of new threats to family persistence that emerged during the Civil War and Reconstruction.