Start reading Black Majority on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player


Black Majority [Kindle Edition]

Peter Wood
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $21.95
Kindle Price: $10.99
You Save: $10.96 (50%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $10.99  
Hardcover --  
Paperback $17.13  
Unknown Binding --  
Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Book Description

African slaves, if taken together, were the largest single group of non-English-speaking migrants to enter the North American colonies in the pre-Revolutionary era. . . . And yet . . . most Americans would find it hard to conceive that the population of one of the thirteen original colonies was well over half black at the time the nation’s independence was declared.
In this first book to focus so directly upon the earliest Negro inhabitants of the deep South, Peter Wood brilliantly lays to rest the notion that the Afro-American past is unrecoverable and makes it clear that blacks played a significant and often determinative part in early American history.

Using a wide variety of source materials, Mr. Wood brings to life the experiences of the black majority in colonial South Carolina. He demonstrates that the role of these early southerners was active, not passive: that their familiarity with rice culture made them an attractive, skilled labor force; that the sickle-cell trait may have been a positive influence in the warding-off of malaria, while a variety of acquired immunities served as protection from other diseases; that their African experiences enabled them to cope, often more effectively than Europeans, with the demands of the New World. He draws attention to Negro involvement in the early frontier, the roots of black English, the scale of black migration, and the plight of slaves who chose to run away.

Tracing the worsening of conditions for the black majority as the colony expanded, Mr. Wood shows how tensions between the races grew and how black resistance evolved into calculated acts of rebellion. The most significant of these uprisings occurred near the Stono River in 1739 and rivaled, in its immediate ferocity and long-range implications, the revolt led by Nat Turner in Virginia almost one hundred years later. Until now the story of the Stono Rebellion has never been fully pieced together, and Mr. Wood reveals how the quelling of this uprising represented a turning point for the turbulent first phase of Negro enslavement in the deep South.
Beyond its impressive scholarship and the intrinsic interest of its material, Black Majority performs an important service by recovering—and bringing into the American consciousness—a portion of the American past and heritage that has hitherto remained unknown.

Editorial Reviews


“Easily the most thorough and the most penetrating case study yet written of the Afro-American population during the slave period. . . . Fascinating and instructive.” (Jack P. Greene)

“Mr. Wood has gone beyond any previous study of the history of slavery in the colonial period. . . . He has given us new perspectives not only on slavery but on human relationships in early America.” (Edmund S. Morgan, author of American Slavery / American Freedom)

About the Author

Peter H. Wood is professor of American history at Duke University.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2528 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (May 9, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007UH91KG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #674,015 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars African-American History done well October 31, 2006
Peter H. Wood did a thoroughly researched well written history of African-Americans in South Carolina from 1670 to the Stono Rebellion. I am African-American and read this book for the first time in college; it was assigned to me by a terrific professor, (Thomas R. Hietala). I came to that class with my own concept of what slavery was and what it meant; this book totally challenged me to question my perceptions of slavery. I believed the stereotypic view that Africans were brought here and taught skills here and picked cotton and it was all misery and this book and others he assigned showed me how our modern vision of slavery is very shallow.

This book focuses on the rice growing region of South Carolina and it shows how slavers concentrated on capturing Africans from the rice coast because of their agricultural knowledge and skills; he shed a light on who these African people were before slavery. It explores how the cash crop in South Carolina came to be rice. How South Carolina was established as a colony of Barbados and the slave owners in South Carolina were formerly working class overseers who worked for the royal owners of Sugar Plantations in Barbados and later became land and slave owners in South Carolina; in both places (Barbados and South Carolina) the populations became Black majorities.

It also shows how slavery system in South Carolina evolved for the enslaved from something that was oppressive and informal into something brutal, permanent and hopeless. The evolution of slavery also changed the owners as they became a numerical minority the also became increasingly paranoid, determined to establish brutal absolute authority over the slaves and blinded by their own propaganda.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating history, told well March 6, 2000
Peter H. Wood describes the experience of Blacks in early South Carolina. In the initial stages of colonization, planters welcomed the skills of Africans, encouraging Black initiative in many projects. Some Africans herded cattle and cultivated rice and indigo, as they had in various parts of Africa. Eventually, however, landowners shifted to intensive plantation development. Planters then sought to limit the strikingly independent economic pursuits of enslaved African-Americans. Wood sets the stage for the outbreak of the Stono Rebellion in 1739; he then chronicles the revolt with a combination of magnificent scholarship and tremendous narrative skill.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Overview November 15, 2001
By A Customer
This study of slavery in early SC is well researched and well written, a social history told in narrative style with a clearly defined chronological structure. Makes a great companion to Philip Morgan's Slave Counterpoint.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent History of Africans in South Carolina February 13, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you have an interest in the history of Africans in America, specially in South Carolina, this is book will be right up your alley. I did not not detect any bias or underhandedness. It is an educational and enlightening read.

If you are a history buff, please pick up this book.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Majority January 30, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I could not put this book down, i learned so much about my people that i never learned in any history class in all my years of schooling in America. That is another story altogether. Peter Wood did an excellent job in examining numerous sources.His ability to identify and understand the diversity of the african backgrounds of the slaves was refreshing. He's helping to undermine the prevalent thought among scholars that the slaves had no technology and were blank slates for Europeans to paint in their own images. He identified the fact that some "Planters" requested slaves from certain areas such as the rice coast, (modern day sierra leone belongs to this coast.)Which in itself shows that Planters were well aware of their slaves origin and the differences between them. I can't say much more without giving away too much of the book. But it's highly recommended.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars If You Love History Then This Is A Must Read May 6, 2014
By Bgrand
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We keep wondering why we continue to make the same mistakes and operate in ways that don't serve us as a country. Well this book helps to enlighten us as to why that is. The lessons learned in the early days by White men or Europeans and those values have stayed with us as a country as we continued to push further and further away from the coasts into lands that belonged to Native Tribes. It also speaks about the introduction of Africans into America and the fear that Europeans had for those same peoples brought here to cultivate the land and increase the bank books of the slave holders. Again, I loved this book and learned a lot from it.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Condition and good price. September 11, 2013
By lav63
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a must read for American historians to understand why we are what we are. This little known fact was well written. I had been trying to find this book, and was pleased I found it on Amazon, and at a reasonable price. The book arrived in mint condition and in a timely manner. Keep up the good work.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty boring presentation of interesting historical information
This book reads more like a boring academic study than an interesting history book. I think there are way too may quotes used within the text, and the more interesting stuff is... Read more
Published 10 months ago by E. Nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Changing hostory as we knew it.
I ordered this booking while taking a recent class from the retired author Peter Wood. This book was responsible for the way we are taught about slavery now. Read more
Published 18 months ago by mcbeth
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670...
I found the writing to be clear and lively. Most important, the facts are reliable and presented in a orderly manner.
Published 22 months ago by David B. Mccoy
4.0 out of 5 stars School book.
Ok, it was a school book. I do not know what more you want me to say, I had to have it for class.
Published 22 months ago by Jim C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensible for an important thread in Black and American history
This book is the beginning of an important thread in African American and Southern History. South Carolina's history was forged by the degree to which it was a slave society on a... Read more
Published on February 20, 2009 by Tony Thomas
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written....kind of slow
Black mojority is a momagram written to examinne the life of an african american in carolina during the colonial era. Read more
Published on February 20, 2005 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Study of Africans in 18th Century South Carolina
Peter Wood presents a very thorough account of Africans in South Carolina in the 1700s. From the first Africans to arrive on a Spanish expedition in 1526 and the African migrants... Read more
Published on March 10, 2003 by mwreview
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category