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Article

Carlos Franco Liberato and Martha I. Pallante

[This entry contains two subentries dealing with the African diaspora, from the origins of slave trade through nineteenth-century America. The first article focuses on the evolution and criticism of the diaspora, while the second article focuses on the cultural effects of this forced transatlantic migration.]

Primary Source

The British government's formal involvement with the slave trade began in 1660 when Charles II charted the Company of Royal Adventurers Trading to Africa. The Company traded not only in slaves but also in gold, silver, ivory, and other goods. Stock in the Company was held by the royal family and many in the aristocracy. In 1663, due to poor management, the Company was reorganized. One of the elements of the reorganization was that exclusive rights to the slave trade were given to the Company, which was made up almost exclusively of London merchants. Still the Company did not succeed financially, due in large part to England's war with Holland, and it dissolved in 1667.

In 1672 a new company was formed called the Royal African Company RAC However this new company had many of the same stockholders and exclusive rights to the slave trade remained with London In 1689 ...

Article

From the colonial era to the present, black organizations and leaders have promoted business as a route to economic equality, both on an individual basis and through the encouragement of support for black business by black economic nationalists. Other long traditions among blacks include cooperative economic ventures, from the burial societies and mutual benefit societies of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to the fraternal organizations and black banks and insurance companies of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The past century saw the development of black business empires built on the black consumer market and, in the late 1900s, competition and integration of black business with white corporate America.

Primary Source

America s long standing reliance on the peculiar institution as a theoretically inexhaustible source of human labor brought with it difficulties beyond the stark ethical and moral paradox of said practice existing within the world s first functional Enlightenment democracy By the early nineteenth century the move was on to shut down the international slave trade the mechanism through which countless Africans were carried against their will to the New World and which was a growing threat to the expanding and increasingly prosperous domestic slave trade Early efforts however such as the Slave Trade Act of 1794 which could only attempt to slow the international trade Article One of the Constitution forbade Congress from interfering in the slave trade until 1808 and the Slave Trade Abolition Act of 1807 which carried the relatively light penalty of forfeiture of vessel and human cargo were less than completely successful In 1820 Congress ...

Article

Michael R. Haines

A salient fact about British North America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was that land and natural resources were abundant but capital and labor were scarce The solution to the labor scarcity was solved from three main sources free immigrants almost all from Europe slaves from sub Saharan Africa and indentured servants mostly from northern and western Europe Some convict labor was used but it was not a major factor affecting only a few places largely several counties in Maryland Virginia and North Carolina for limited time periods A great deal of labor was needed not only to clear land and prepare it for settlement and cultivation but also later to carry out agriculture for both subsistence and the production of staple export crops provide services and locally manufacture things needed by the colonists The initial settlement work included labor intensive tasks such as removing trees and other vegetation ...

Article

Jews  

Paul Finkelman, Lois Kerschen and William Pencak

[This entry contains two subentries providing an overview of the Jewish presence in colonial and early national America through the nineteenth century The first article discusses Jewish involvement in the slave trade and cultural interactions between Jews and African Americans while the second article discusses Jewish political participation and ...

Article

Steven J. Niven

slave driver, farmer, and Democratic Party activist was born a slave probably in Washington County Mississippi The names of his parents are not recorded On the eve of the Civil War and only sixteen he was working as a driver of slaves on a Delta plantation a position generally reserved for experienced laborers in their thirties or forties That Lucas achieved such a position at such an early age is suggestive of his willingness to work hard and to both obey and command authority Drivers enjoyed a fair degree of autonomy in their work and occupied a difficult middle position between their fellow slaves and those who owned them but most understood that the needs and desires of their owners came first Though some drivers interceded to protect the slaves from harsh treatment by white overseers or masters a minority abused their position by seeking sexual favors ...

Article

Mariana P. Candido, Robert H. Gudmestad, Olatunji Ojo and Mohammed Bashir Salau

[This entry contains five subentries dealing with the Atlantic slave trade from the sixteenth century to legislature prohibiting American participation in the early nineteenth century Each article discusses a chronological segment of the duration of slave trade the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the eighteenth century to the American Revolution ...

Article

Stephen Behrendt

From the 1520s to the 1860s an estimated eleven to twelve million African men, women, and children were forcibly embarked on European vessels for a life of slavery in the Western Hemisphere. Many more Africans were captured or purchased in the interior of the continent but a large number died before reaching the coast. About nine to ten million Africans survived the Atlantic crossing to be purchased by planters and traders in the New World, where they worked principally as slave laborers in plantation economies requiring a large work force. African peoples were transported from numerous coastal outlets from the Senegal River in West Africa and hundreds of trading sites along the coast as far south as Benguela (Angola), and from ports in Mozambique in southeast Africa In the New World slaves were sold in markets as far north as New England and as far south as ...