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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: Manumitted Slaves in Alabama

Hi Mechelle. I think one the best resources we have on what slavery was like are the wills of slaveowners from the county and period which is of interest to you.

My project for the past few months has been to abstract the words of slaveowners as they refer to their slaves in their wills. I have completed King George County, Virginia wills from 1721 to 1863 and most of Halifax County, North Carolina, from 1762 to 1854 and posted them on my site.

There are also the WPA Slave Narratives but they are the remembrances of slaves who were small children during slavery times, were very elderly when they were interviewed and were usually interviewed by whites.

The slaveowners are, of course, telling the story from their own perspective, but there is the advantage that they are telling it in a private letter to their families during slavery times. In many of the wills it is obvious that slaveowners thought of their slaves no differently than any other property which was needed to run their farm, such as their stock of horses, cows and pigs. No surprise because legally slaves were property.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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