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Slavery's Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons Kindle Edition
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"In contrast to the study of slavery elsewhere, six decades of research in the United States has systematically bypassed the issue of marronage. Sylviane Dioufs exhaustive research has not only brought the subject to center stage, it offers a framework for recasting the study of runaway slaves throughout the Americas. This is one of those rare books that is at once of scholarly significance and will engage a wide readership." -- David Eltis,Robert W. Woodruff Professor of History, Emory University
"[T]he stories are riveting. Readers will become familiar with colorful characters like Captain Cudjoe of Jamaica or the man nicknamed 'Forest' for his skill at hiding, and they will learn surprising facts about maroons participation in trade and defense, along with horrific details of punishments . . . . [I]ts a notable document for its treatment of the subject.", Publishers Weekly
"Like other books that Sylviane A. Diouf has written, this one examines a fascinating, though neglected topic in African Diaspora history . . . Diouf advances the discourse by using a landscape perspective to offer an alternative to the grand/petit marronage dichotomy . . . Her attention to borderland (adjacent to plantations) and hinterland (remote from plantations or cities) conditions and logistics reflects an appreciation of the wider context framing relations between enslaved and free people, which stands in contrast to the dated view of plantations as islands with impermeable boundaries . . . Diouf has produces a well-written and balanced account... She backs her arguments with evidence, illuminates trends, and accounts for contradictions.", American Historical Review
"With impressive research and vivid prose, Diouf directs our attention to maroons within the United States. From the Great Dismal Swamp of Virginia to the frontier regions of Louisiana, she shows, fugitive slaves managed to survive without fleeing to the North. An important addition to our understanding of slave society and black resistance." -- Eric Foner,author of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery
"Sylviane A. Diouf has made an enormous contribution to our understanding of enslaved people's lives with her study of the maroons in the American South. Slavery's Exilesdispels the myth that maroon communities only existed in places such as the Caribbean and Brazil, firmly placing the maroons of mainland North America within larger discussions of slave resistance.", The North Carolina Historical Review
"She tells the story of a few large communities, most notably that of the Great Dismal Swamp, and briefly examines the marronage subgroups of bandits and insurrectionists, but the triumph here is the author's portrait of the day-to-day precariousness of maroon lives, the courage and resourcefulness required for survival, and the terrible price they paid for trying to recover their freedom. A neglected chapter of the American slave experience brought sensitively and vividly to life.", Kirkus
"This is a very important book that opens a window into an understudied aspect of American slavery. It deserves a wide readership.", American Nineteenth Century History
"In a book that is easily accessible yet rigorously researched, analyzed, and argued, Diouf has made a compelling case that scholars of slavery and of early American history must consider the presence of maroons in the U.S. with a sense of renewed urgency. As she so eloquently and brilliantly shows, maroons exhibited a form of self-determined, autonomy-seeking resistance to slavery that complicates our understanding of fugitivity and freedom as they are generally bound up in a North/South, free/unfree binaristic imaginary.", Journal of the Early Republic
"This extensively and thoroughly researched study brings to light a little-known aspect of slavery in the United States . . . a fascinating read. Diouf has done a brilliant job of illuminating a complicated, multifaceted, important, yet little-known piece of black American history." -- Annette Madden, The Baobab Tree --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B00GXA1QWW
- Publisher : NYU Press; Reprint edition (January 17, 2014)
- Publication date : January 17, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 5106 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 525 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #465,946 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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In her choice of and careful use of the term "maroon," Diouf specifically refers to escaped slaves who most often, lived nearby and secretly from plantations they formerly belonged to. Equally important to her definition, maroons were no longer under the control of slave masters or overseers. Most maroons had family members, (parents, siblings, children) and friends back on those same plantations whom they secretly visited. Many maroons survived only because family members back on the plantation secretly helped to provide for them. Continued survival of a maroon colony usually depended in large part upon raiding and stealing food, tools, clothing and other supplies from that same plantation or from nearby plantations. Few maroon colonies became self-sustaining.
One noteworthy exception were several maroon colonies in the Great Dismal Swamp, where maroons could work as paid loggers of cypress.
Maroons disappeared into marronage as individuals or in small groups. Early in "Slavery's Exiles," Diouf points out that Africans (those slaves actually born in Africa) typically had higher rates of marronage than African-Americans (slaves born in America). Some imported Africans escaped into marronage within days of arriving on a southern plantation.
Diouf also distinguishes between "borderland" maroons and "hinterland" maroons. Borderland maroons lived close to the plantations from which they escaped. Hinterland maroons lived further away, not only from the plantations they escaped from but from any white settlements or plantations.
Swamps and caves tended to be preferred as secret and remote places where maroon colonies could exist. In some maroon colonies, small-scale farming was possible. However, the existence of planted crops in any serious size would be a dead give-away. Most maroon colonies survived primarily on subsistence fishing and hunting -- and stealing. Vegetables, fruits, chickens and hogs were the most frequently stolen food items. Hogs were the easiest animals to steal since many plantations allowed hogs to free-forage, meaning that the hogs would remain in the woods or swamps for long periods of time without being actively managed. The sudden disappearance of a milk cow which needs to be milked twice a day would get noticed immediately.
Diouf goes into many maroon stories. My one criticism is that in relating snippets of so many stories, the thread of her larger narrative sometimes gets buried.
One of the strongest chapters in "Slavery's Exiles" is on the life of maroons in the Great Dismal Swamp. Perhaps no other area of the antebellum South had so strong an association with maroon colonies as the Great Dismal. This 2,500 square mile cypress swamp on the Virginia-North Carolina border was largely impenetrable. Maroon colonies that existed there reached a certain level of maturity with logging operations that allowed maroons to achieve a level of independence and self-sustenance not found elsewhere. After the Civil War ended, maroons in the Great Dismal had to be informed that they were now free.
(With the me-too tendencies of Hollywood, and given the success of 12 Years A Slave, one might also foresee these heroic stories being brought to even more vivid life, but Diouf has already done her part). Bravo.