How did slavery in America begin? Gangs of black slaves toiling on large southern plantations dominate many students' ideas of African American history. Although ultimately the reality for most forced immigrants of African descent, the institution of slavery was not inevitable in colonial America. Each of the 5 selections in this volume attempts to show students how slavery emerged, how it became the defining condition for African Americans in the British colonies, and how its development influenced and transformed every aspect of society from colonial law and politics to social relations and cultural values.
The volumes in this series each bring together four or five unabridged essays that speak to specific questions related to an historical issue. Here, after introductory material by the editor on the beginnings of American slavery, five (introduced) essays address five questions: Was the early European Atlantic also an African Atlantic? Who enslaved whom? How did the subject of slavery enter American law? How did North America's absolute racial division begin? and Did American freedom rest upon American slavery? An index would have enhanced this well-conceived, discussion-stimulating volume. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.