Black Freedom in the Age of Slavery: Race, Status, and Identity in the Urban Americas
Prior to the abolition of slavery, thousands of African-descended people in the Americas lived in freedom. Their efforts to navigate daily life and negotiate the boundaries of racial difference challenged the foundations of white authority—and linked the Americas together. In Black Freedom in the Age of Slavery: Race, Status, and Identity in the Urban Americas (2020, USC Press), John Garrison Marks reveals how skills, knowledge, reputation, and personal relationships helped free people of color improve their fortunes and achieve social distinction in ways that undermined whites' claims to racial superiority.
Dr. Marks examines how these individuals built lives in freedom for themselves and their families in two of the Atlantic World's most important urban centers: Cartagena, along the Caribbean coast of modern-day Colombia, and Charleston, in the Lowcountry of North America's Atlantic coast. His conversation on this edition of Walter Edgar’s Journal focuses on the world of free people of color in and around Charleston.