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Article

Charles Rosenberg

landowner, businessman, and state legislator, was born enslaved in Dallas County Alabama, to parents named Sarah and Pete, who had been born in South Carolina. David, like his parents, was the property of a family named Abner. There is some dispute as to his birth date—some giving 1826 and others 1838—but the most reliable date appears to be December 1820, as suggested by a letter from his youngest daughter. It is not known when David took the Abner surname for himself, a common but by no means universal practice for formerly enslaved persons. He was sent to Texas in 1843, driving a covered wagon for the newly married daughter (Thelma) of the man who held title to him.

Her father considered his new son in law unreliable and entrusted David to get his daughter safely to her new home and manage ...

Article

Asia  

James F. Warren and Utsa Patnaik

[This entry comprises two articles: a general description of slavery and other forms of servitude in the Indian subcontinent, followed by a detailed discussion of these practices throughout Southeast Asia and its environs. For discussion of slavery in East Asia,see ChinaandKorea.]

Article

David P. Johnson

Asmara is located in a highland region of Eritrea that was settled roughly 700 years ago. It is believed to have been the site of four small, feuding villages, which, under pressure from the villages’ women inhabitants, finally made peace and united around 1515. The name Asmara comes from Arbate Asmara, which in the Tigrinya language means “the four villages of those [women] who brought harmony.” Sixteenth-century Italian sources describe Asmara as a caravan trading center.

Shortly afterward Asmara was sacked by Islamic warriors and went into decline. Few historical records even mention Asmara again until the late nineteenth century, when the Italians began their colonial conquest of the region. After occupying Aseb in 1882 and Massawa in 1885, the Italians pushed into the highlands, where they encountered resistance. However, in exchange for weapons Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II signed a treaty in 1889 acquiescing to Italian control ...

Article

Elizabeth Heath

The administrative, economic, and cultural center of Mali, Bamako lies on the left bank of the Niger River in the southwestern part of the country. Little is known about Bamako before the eleventh century, when it achieved prominence as a center of Islamic scholarship in the Mali empire. After the fall of Mali in the sixteenth century, the Bambara occupied the town, which became a fishing and trading center. In 1806 Scottish explorer Mungo Park estimated Bamako’s population to be less than 6,000. By 1880 the town had fallen under the domination of the Mandinka warrior Samory Touré, whose kingdom covered an expanse of territory to the south.

In 1883 French Lieutenant Colonel Gustave Borgnis Desbordes occupied Bamako and used it as a base for military campaigns against Touré Bamako took on new importance under the French who valued the town s position on the navigable ...

Article

Baptism  

Sylvia Frey

Baptism or ritual washing with water has from ancient times signified regeneration or rebirth Early purifications prescribed by Mosaic law symbolized the external washing away of internal uncleanness It is unclear when baptism became institutionalized as a sacrament but biblical scholars cite Jesus Christ s declaration to Nicodemus as the probable origin Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost he can not enter into the Kingdom of God As recorded in John 3 4 and Matthew 28 Christ commissioned his apostles to baptize By the time of Augustine the idea that salvation was the unmerited grace of God and was achieved through the sacrament of baptism was part of Christian orthodoxy The moment when God forgave original sin baptism had immediate effects including the remission of all sins and the infusion of sanctifying grace It signaled as well the entry of the recipient into the ...

Article

Susanne Freidberg

The city of Bobo-Dioulasso is located in one of the greener areas of Burkina Faso, and has long benefited from the fertility of the surrounding countryside. According to the legends of the Bobo people, their ancestors migrated from present-day Mali sometime between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries c.e.. and became the first inhabitants of what Bobo folk songs call “the plateau of abundance” in the southern Volta region. Over the following centuries, long-distance traders settled among the Bobo peasants on this plateau and established a community known as Sya on the banks of the Houet River. Located at the crossroads of trans-Saharan and east-west trade routes, Sya was a lively market town by the time European colonization began in the late nineteenth century. French troops, facing fierce resistance from Sya’s Zara warriors, conquered the town in 1895 They renamed it Bobo Dioulasso in Dioula house of the ...

Article

Ronald Young

baseball player known as Willard “Home Run” Brown, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, the son of Manuel and Allie Brown.

As a youngster, Brown sometimes worked as a batboy for the Kansas City Monarchs, the renowned Negro League baseball team that held its spring training in Shreveport. In 1934, Brown signed his first professional contract to pitch and play shortstop with the Monroe Monarchs of the Negro Southern League. Brown earned $8 per week.

After one season with Monroe, Brown joined the Kansas City Monarchs for the 1935 season. The Monarchs, one of the leading black ball clubs of the era, paid him a $250 signing bonus, a $125 per month salary, and $1 per day for meals. He soon developed into one of the team's star players. During the 1936 season Brown was selected to play in the East West All Star game an honor he ...

Article

O. Nigel Bolland

Indigenous forms of servitude in Central America preceded the Spanish conquest, but, oppressive and widespread as they were, they should not be equated with the institution of slavery introduced by Europeans between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. As opposed to earlier slavery systems, enslavement of indigenous Indians and then of Africans by Spanish and British settlers reflected demands for labor within the culture of capitalist property rights in the developing economies of the Atlantic world. The peripheral nature of the Central American colonies in the Spanish and British empires led first to the massive export of enslaved Indians, and then to the importation of enslaved Africans into the region; the latter was relatively minor in comparison with importations to other parts of the Americas. The net result was a depopulation of Central America that contributed to the region's persistent underdevelopment.

Servitude existed during the Classic period of Maya civilization ...

Article

China  

James L. Watson

Prior to the communist collectivization campaigns of the 1950s, China had an exceedingly complex system of social stratification marked by regional cultural variation and a rural-urban dichotomy. Localized forms of slavery existed in many provinces, as did systems of hereditary tenancy and debt bondage.

The best-documented cases of chattel slavery were found in southern China, notably in the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian. Two closely related forms of servitude emerged in this region, one male-specific and the other restricted to women. Most of these servile dependents were status symbols, treated much like investments in imperial degrees, stately homes, and ostentatious rituals.

Servile males were referred to as ximin literally little people or minor people they were usually purchased as adolescents from poor families who had an excess of male heirs Wealthy purchasers used intermediaries older women who also served as matchmakers to negotiate the exchange thus keeping the identities ...

Article

John R. McKivigan

Thanks to the scholarship of David B. Davis, Orlando Patterson, and others, historians acknowledge that European Christian leaders tolerated residual forms of slavery throughout the Middle Ages and sanctioned the establishment of the institution in New World colonies. While the papacy denounced the enslavement of Indians in the sixteenth century, Catholic colonists in Latin America imported millions of African bondsmen. The Roman Catholic church's influence served to ameliorate the treatment of those African slaves, although apparently not as much as historians once believed. In the British West Indies, masters minimized the potential for Anglican church interference by actively discouraging the conversion of slaves to Christianity.

In colonial North America the Society of Friends stood alone in the religious community in professing that slaveholding was antithetical to piety The ideological ferment of the Age of Enlightenment followed by the American Revolution however led many Christians to equate the slaves ...

Article

Frank McGlynn

The examination of concubinage the ownership of females by males for sexual and reproductive purposes calls forth a radical contexualization of slavery particularly domestic slavery with kinship and gender In much of sub Saharan Africa the traditional productive systems were marked by extensive hoe cultivation of slash and burn fields while the political landscape was often characterized by a checker board pattern of states with economies based on booty and trade rather than on internally generated surplus agricultural products The remaining sociopolitical blocks were kinship domains where one s opportunities and access to resources were embedded in the corporate kin group these polities external relations were grounded in the politics of ratios of persons to land The accumulation of marital ties and dependents were the capital of this kinship domain Therefore existing inequalities such as those of age and gender were reinforced by the concentration of reproductive power in the ...

Article

Barry Higman

Slave populations were never truly separate from the free populations within which they existed. The number and proportion of persons in a society who lived as slaves depended on a variety of factors, some internal and some external to the enslaved population. Growth in slave populations resulted from the external processes of enslavement, forced migration, and changes in the status of individuals within societies, and from the internal process of fertility (although some of the fathers of slave children were free persons). Population decrease resulted from changes in the status of the enslaved class at large—abolition and partial abolition—or in the status of individual slaves (through manumission, coartación or maroonage from forced migration and from mortality These events and processes linked enslaved and free people in complex ways In some cases slaves were able to exercise a degree of control over the demographic events whether by acts of resistance ...

Article

Jane Turner Censer

The concept of domestic slavery customarily included household servants rather than skilled craft and industrial workers or agricultural laborers. Existing from ancient times, domestic slavery in North America dated almost from the beginning of African bondage there in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. In the nineteenth century, U.S. slaveowners referred to domestic slavery to characterize their entire institution and to create the argument of slavery as a positive good. With this focus on domestic slavery, they compared the Southern slave-holding household to an extended family.

In many societies domestic slavery was an urban phenomena but in North America it came to be important on farms and plantations as well as in cities Domestic service involved a multitude of possible posts ladies maids and housemaids valets cooks butlers housekeepers dining room servers carriage drivers coachmen laundresses and ironers and nursemaids While gardeners dairymaids seamstresses and spinners produced goods they too ...

Article

Tom Stephens

farmer and businessman, was born at Indian Queen Tavern in Danville, Kentucky. Doram was a son of Lydia Barbee, a free black woman, who had been a slave of the Revolutionary War General Thomas Barbee. According to family tradition, Barbee was Doram's father and that of his siblings. Lydia and her six children were the first people mentioned in Barbee's will, which freed her and provided for the emancipation and education of the children.

When Boyle County, Kentucky, was formed in 1842 Doram was already a leading figure in the community and, by 1850, was considered “the wealthiest member of his race” in the county (Brown, 427). His business concerns included the local Caldwell School for Women and a rope factory, in addition to his growing and selling hemp. The county's 1850 tax list shows Doram as the owner of 215 acres along Dix River ...

Article

Michael Berthold

backwoods legend, was born on Sourland Mountain, New Jersey, the daughter of Cuffy Baird, a Revolutionary War fifer who may have seen action at the battles of Trenton (1776) and Princeton (1777), and Dorcas Compton. Although they had different masters, both of Dubois's parents were slaves. Dubois may in part have inherited her own ferocious desire for freedom from her mother, who tried repeatedly but unsuccessfully to buy her own freedom. Dubois was owned by Dominicus (Minna) Dubois, a strict yet accommodating master much more congenial to Silvia than was his wife, who beat Silvia badly. Aside from Dubois's memories of moving as a young girl to the village of Flagtown and as a teenager to Great Bend, Pennsylvania, where her master kept a tavern, little biographical information exists about her childhood.

An imposing physical presence the adult Dubois stood approximately 5 10 ...

Article

Richard H. Steckel

The agenda for research on many topics in studying slavery in the United States was established during the nineteenth century. The charges and countercharges of the pre–Civil War debate over slavery and abolition left a residue of ideas condemning the “peculiar institution.” Hinton Rowan Helper argued that inefficiencies inherent in slavery retarded Southern economic growth, while Frederick Law Olmsted maintained that slave labor was less productive than free labor and that investments in slaves were generally unprofitable. By the twentieth century, themes of growth retardation, inefficiency, nonviability, unprofitability, and the harshness of slave life often appeared in works on antebellum Southern history. Thus when Alfred Conrad and John Meyer in 1958 published their famous paper ushering in the new economic history, they confronted widely held views and ways of thinking about slavery and the Southern economy.

Work conducted in the decade or so following the paper by Conrad and Meyer ...

Article

Lake Edward, located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, has an area of about 2,150 square kilometers (about 830 square miles) and lies 912 meters (2,990 feet) above sea level. It is connected on the northeast with Lake George (or Lake Dweru) in Uganda, by means of the Kazinga Channel. Lake Edward is fed by the Rutshuru River, a headstream of the White Nile. The lake has only one outlet, the Semliki River, which links it with Lake Albert to the north. High escarpments run along the western shore of the lake and mountains rise on the northwestern shore. The water is brackish with mineral salts. Many fish and crocodiles live in the lake, and waterfowl abound on its shores. The Anglo-American explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley discovered the lake in 1889. The lake was formerly called Albert Edward Nyanza.

See alsoGeomorphology, African ...

Article

Ruth Mazo Karras

Although there were many commonalities in the experiences of all slaves, there were also important lines of division among slaves. One of these divisions was gender. In any given society men and women, both enslaved and enslaving, experienced slavery differently. The experience of men and women slaves differed both for biological reasons related to their sexual and reproductive use, and for sociocultural reasons related to gender divisions of labor.

In many societies slaves have been predominantly or stereotypically female In part this is because war was an important source of slaves and men were often killed rather than captured Women captives of various social groups were part of the booty of war Elite women for example might become wives or concubines the distinction was not made in many legal kinship and linguistic systems although they never gained the status of a wife married by agreement with her male relatives In ...

Article

Sholomo B. Levy

minister and blacksmith, was born in Leonardtown, Maryland, the son of Jane and Thomas Henry, slaves of Richard Barnes, the largest slave owner in the district. It is thought that Henry's maternal grandmother, Catherine Hill, had been purchased by the Barnes family on a return trip from England and the Caribbean. Thomas's parents were domestic servants of the Barnes family, which owned tobacco plantations and other business interests. Before his death in 1804, Richard Barnes had stated in his will that his slaves were to be freed; one unusual stipulation he added that suggests a special closeness with these individuals was that the manumitted slaves take the name Barnes.

Thomas, however, did not gain his freedom until almost twenty years after his master's death, because John Thomson Mason a nephew of Richard Barnes and the executor of his estate exploited a growing number of ...

Article

Elizabeth Zoe Vicary

escaped slave and preacher, was born in Charles County, Maryland, on a farm owned by Francis Newman. As a child Henson frequently saw his parents abused and severely beaten. On one occasion, as a punishment for defending his wife, Henson's father was sentenced to a physical mutilation that left him permanently scarred. Although he was raised without religion, Henson was immediately converted to Christianity after his first exposure to it at a revivalist camp meeting. As a young boy, he was sold to Isaac Riley.

Because of his unusual strength and intelligence Henson was made superintendent of the farm at a young age He managed the plantation well doubling the annual crop production One day during an argument at a neighboring farm Henson defended his master in an argument with the other plantation s overseer In revenge the overseer and three of his slaves waylaid Henson one ...