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Rebels and Runaways: Slave Resistance in Nineteenth-Century Florida (New Black Studies Series) Hardcover – June 22, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

 

"Offered new insightful research on Florida's unique role in slave resistance. . . . Recommended."--Choice

"A valuable--indeed indispensable--account that profoundly alters our understanding of slave protests and rebellion. Rivers offers perspectives that reach beyond Florida to embrace a regional and global context for a new understanding of freedom and unfreedom. Steeped in remarkable research, this is a must read book for anyone who studies slavery."--Orville Vernon Burton, author of The Age of Jackson


 

"Most studies of antebellum slavery have either ignored or forgotten the bold actions of hundreds of enslaved Africans in Florida. Rivers's poignant study makes a strong case that this thrilling human drama--played out over many generations--constitutes perhaps the largest slave rebellion in American history. After reading this splendid book, historians and others interested in America's history will never look at slave resistance in the same way again."--James M. Denham, author of A Rogue's Paradise: Crime and Punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821–1861

"River's often insightful investigation of evolving forms and patterns of slave resistance underscores the gross imbalance of forces that slaves, individually and collectively, confronted in trying to acquire the space necessary to even think freedom a remote possibility."--Civil War History


 

"A masterful, comprehensive, and captivating analysis of resistance and absconding in Florida. Rivers fluidly and movingly examines the complex and highly differentiated experiences of the enslaved in Florida, and their variable reactions to that condition. A must read for those interested in their sweeping and compelling story."--Michael A. Gomez, author of Reversing Sail: A History of the African Diaspora
 
"A sweepingly impressive and admirably provocative study, Rebels and Runaways illuminates changes and meanings of slave resistance and armed rebellion. This important contribution offers a significantly sophisticated understanding of the complexities of resistance and rebellion to the tyranny of slavery."--Darlene Clark Hine, coeditor of Black Europe and the African Diaspora and The Black Chicago Renaissance

About the Author

 

Larry Eugene Rivers is president of Fort Valley State University in central Georgia and the author of Slavery in Florida: Territorial Days to Emancipation.
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Product Details

  • Series: New Black Studies Series
  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1st Edition edition (June 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252036913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252036910
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,990,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Review of Rebels and Runaways by a customer

Larry E. Rivers accomplishes a lot in his study of slave resistance by using a multiplicity of sources, such as slaveholders will and probates, ledgers, account books, court records, oral histories and numerous newspaper accounts, to create an interesting and moving account of one of the darkest eras in our history.

He explains what life was like for enslaved blacks whose families were pulled asunder as they relocated to violent Florida, and how they fought back as best as they could to control small parts of their lives. As he tells this many nuanced story, it was a time of man's inhumanity towards man and a black woman, it was a time of conquering and putting red and black people in their assigned places, and it was a time to use means necessary to push America's agenda of national westward expansion. All of these factors impacted negatively the freedom, safety, and security of blacks and Native Americans in Florida society. Rivers does a decent job of connecting the Florida scene and its impact on national events occurring at the time.

With some runaways having an "Atlantic world perspective," the author does something that few historians of the subject have done to date -that is- he provides a more international approach to the study of slave resistance. True, some fugitives headed for freedom beyond America's northern boundaries to Canada; but, some fugitives in Florida also left their homes seeking freedom beyond the United States further south. Some sought freedom by piloting or hiding on aboard ships headed to the Caribbean especially to the Bahamas after 1834.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Larry E. Rivers' book entitled, Rebels and Runaways is interesting and well written. He painstakingly tries to get readers to understand the complicated and complex cause and effect of slave resistance in antebellum Florida, and its impact
on the nation as a whole. The author clearly makes a connection between whites thwarting slave resistance in the peninsula,
especially from 1835 to the mid 1840s, with America's western expansion efforts. Rivers adds a new dimension to the story of
slave resistance in the South by looking at enslaved blacks with an Atlantic world perspective, and those who successfully
escaped by another Underground Railroad route (by water not by land) further south to the Bahamas.

Although the author doesn't say, it would be interesting to know how many fugitives actually made it to the British Caribbean islands after the empire outlawed slavery in 1833 or 34, and were slave owners and catchers ever successful in having fugitives returned to the states? Rivers indicates that some slaveholders were not successful in retrieving their runaways who successfully made it to the Caribbean. That's an interesting point since most historians who study runaways more often describe those who were unsuccessful in their escapes, not those who were successful in their efforts! !

It's a refreshing look at the humanity of enslaved blacks and their efforts to maintain their humanity by fighting the worse
un-free labor camp system in the history of the country. Well,this is not your mother's or father's usual cup of tea or
coffee!!!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grady L. Cornish, PhD on September 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On the heels of the re-election campaign of America's first black president, the misdirected debates over our involvement in numerous overseas wars, the financial instability of the country, our dilemma in education, contentious social issues like same sex marriage, and the on-going debate concerning the stability of the black family, we have a gripping book that, at least, clearly argues that the while the slave family received no legitimacy from en-slavers, it kept reconfiguring itself despite the efforts of powerful slaveholders to destroy it. This study effectively argues that slave resistance, in part, grew out of enslaved blacks' attempts at protecting and preserving the slave family.

But, this book contains much more. In fact, after reading it carefully, this reviewer came away with seven (7) major points, all in some way centering directly or indirectly on preserving the family unit of enslaved blacks in the wild Florida peninsula.

Perhaps the most important learn is that Florida's early history, topography, geography, and overall large landscape of scarcely populated inhabitants made it an ideal destination for establishing maroon communities. And according to the author, Florida had numerous runaway maroon communities throughout peninsula from the 1730s up to the Civil War. In these distant communities, blacks could protect their families for many years from white encroachment.

Some runaways or fugitives, especially from Northeast Florida had an Atlantic worldview, and looked to distant places in the British Bahamas to secure freedom for themselves and their families.
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