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Blue Coat or Powdered Wig: Free People of Color in Pre-Revolutionary Saint Domingue Paperback – November 1, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0820330297 ISBN-10: 0820330299 Edition: 1st Paperback Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press; 1st Paperback Edition edition (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820330299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820330297
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,163,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The past two decades have witnessed important strides in research on the free colored experience in Saint Domingue. . . . King offers a significant contribution to this literature by presenting a striking examination of the free colored population in Saint Domingue upon the eve of the Haitian Revolution. . . . King's rich study of free colored society offers ready comparisons with other parts of the colonial Atlantic world."--American Historical Review

“Grounded in extensive research in the rich notarial records of Saint Domingue, Blue Coat or Powdered Wig tells a fascinating story of people of African descent who, in the face of racial discrimination and within the confines of America's richest plantation colony, become successful landowners, merchants, and officers. In the process, the book paints a vivid portrait of a society on the verge of revolution.”--Laurent Dubois, author of A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787-1804

"King has many fresh things to say about free-colored marriages and families, manumission practices, entrepreneurship, housing, religiousness, color consciousness, godparenthood, status aspirations, social mobility, and sexual behavior. . . . Saint Domingue produced one of the wealthiest classes of free-colored slaveholders in the history of the Americas. In this assiduously researched volume, King succeeds admirably in achieving a stated goal of bringing depth and complexity to a subject too easily ignored or glossed over by historians of slavery in the Americas.”--Journal of Social History

"Distinguishing between two sectors of the free colored elite—planters who associated more with whites and members of the armed forces who associated more with poorer people of color—King erodes many stereotypes about this social stratum. . . . The author could have said more about how the elite's quest for wealth and status played an important part in the dynamics leading to revolution in 1791 and the transformation of the society after independence, but his book is a pleasure to read and a major contribution to Haitian and Caribbean history and the comparative study of slave societies. Highly recommended."--Choice

"Debunks the stereotypical image of the deprived non-white ruthlessly cut down by the color line, and thus compelled to eke out a living on the margins of Caribbean society. In its place, the author highlights resourceful ex-slaves and free coloreds who cleverly employed various familial, communal, economic and political strategies to carve out a niche for themselves."--Americas

"[An] elegant study . . . King reveals divisions within the free colored population and refutes old claims that it represented a homogeneous racial or economic class. He demonstrates the substantial free colored contributions to the colony’s economy and its military structures and analyzes the complex relationship of free people of color to the rest of colonial society. . . . This is an important book based on careful research. It should be of great interest to all students of the revolution in Saint Domingue as well as to historians of the French colonies."--H-France

About the Author

Stewart R. King is an associate professor of history at Mount Angel Seminary, St. Benedict, Oregon.

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