From Library Journal
Using a variety of sources, Hadden (history, Florida State Univ.) thoroughly analyzes the public regulation of slavery in Virginia and the Carolinas, focusing on slave patrols between 1700 and 1865. Adding new details, the author's in-depth analysis provides an understanding of the daily enforcement of slave laws and an awareness of how Southern police forces were influenced by slavery and white dominance. The book is thematically organized, with chapters addressing topics that range from the formation of the original patrol groups, responses during crises like slave revolts, and the impact of the Civil War on patrols. She concludes that after the Civil War, the oppressive and brutal roles of the slave patrols were absorbed by other Southern institutions, such as police forces and the Ku Klux Klan. Hadden employs lots of primary sources and detailed notes on each chapter in this excellent, long-needed synthesis to supplement works like H.M. Henry's The Police Control of the Slave in South Carolina (1914. o.p.). This is essential reading, with much to offer all scholars interested in American history, slavery, and race relations. Edward G. McCormack, Univ. of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Lib.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
History professor Hadden offers insights into a part of U.S. history that has been little studied, despite the fact that it is an integral fact of that history. Although slave patrols are most associated with the South, they were initiated in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by Spanish and English colonists in the Caribbean. Once slavery took substantial root in the American South, local authorities began to adopt patrols as a means of policing slaves. The patrols were coordinated with other militia used to protect white colonists from Indians and other outside threats. With the rise of absentee plantation owners and the growth of towns, authorities used various carrots and sticks from fines to tax abatements. Patrols also changed from voluntary vigilante type groups, sometimes impromptu mobs, to paid civil servants. Whatever their structure, the patrols became part of the violent force used to react to slave revolts, the threat of such revolts, and runaways. Despite the bravado attached to their image, slave patrols were "an unequivocal manifestation of white fear." Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved