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Home > Catalog > The African-American Family in Slavery and Emancipation
The African-American Family in Slavery and Emancipation


  • 32 b/w illus. 7 maps
  • Page extent: 382 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.73 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 306.3/62/0973
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: E443 .D86 2003
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Slavery--Social aspects--United States--History
    • African American families--History
    • Slaves--United States--Social conditions
    • Slaves--Emancipation--United States
    • Freedmen--United States--Social conditions

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521812764 | ISBN-10: 0521812763)

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published April 2003

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$92.00 (P)

Wilma Dunaway contends that studies of the U.S. slave family are flawed by the neglect of small plantations and export zones and the exaggeration of slave agency. Using data on population trends and slave narratives, Dunaway identifies several profit-maximizing strategies that owners implemented to disrupt and endanger African-American families. These effective strategies include forced labor migrations, structural interference in marriages and childcare, sexual exploitation of women, shortfalls in provision of basic survival needs, and ecological risks. This book is unique in its examination of new threats to family persistence that emerged during the Civil War and Reconstruction.


Introduction; 1. Slave trading and forced labor migrations; 2. Family diasporas and parenthood lost; 3. Malnutrition, ecological risks, and slave mortality; 4. Reproductive exploitation and child mortality; 5. Slave household subsistence and women's work; 6. The impacts of Civil War on slave families; 7. The risks of emancipation for black families; 8. Reconstruction threats to black family survival; Theoretical reprise.


"Dunway's attempt to present a comprehensive view of slavery (and freedom) in Appalachia is to be lauded ... Dunway's book breaks new ground." - Appalachian Journal

"Dunaway's volumes raise important questions and give provocative answers about the experience of slavery in nineteenth-century America. In particular, the findings of The African American Family will contribute to the ongoing debate about the nature of slavery on small plantations and farms." - Journal of Interdisciplanary History, Jane Turner Censer

"...impressive..." - Appalachian Heritage

"This book is a valuable contribution to the historiography of antebellum slavery and our understanding of the challenges that African American families faced before, during, and after emancipation.... It is well-researched, engaging, persuasive, and extremely thorough. Dunaway handles her sources, and the subject, with expertise and great sensitivity. She is to be praised for an outstanding and important piece of work." - America Studien/American Studies

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