Black Majority Book Review

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Peter Wood’s Black Majority is a social history examining the cause and effects, both explicit and implicit, of the black majority that emerged in colonial South Carolina. His study spans the time period from the settlement of Carolina through the Stono Rebellion, which took place in 1739. He also takes into consideration and examines certain events that took place in the years immediately preceding the settlement of 1670, as well as those that immediately followed, as a direct result of, the Stono Rebellion and their respective relationships to the black majority that existed in the colony. Wood introduces the book as possibly the first real study of this black majority and its impact on the colony in its earliest years. Wood also proposes that many preceding social-historical studies of colonial South Carolina generally ignore or discredit the significance this overwhelming segment of the population played in the most developmental years of the colonies establishment. Through his studies of various contemporary documents, Peter Wood illustrates a South Carolina that was largely shaped by the numerical majority of the population far more than previous studies have acknowledged. The Stono Rebellion took place on September 9, 1739. twenty African American Carolinians led by Jemmy, an Angolan slave, met near the Stono River, twenty miles southwest of Charleston. They marched down the roadway with a banner that read "Liberty!"—they chanted the same word in unison. At the Stono Bridge they seized weapons and ammunition from a store at the Stono River Bridge and killed the two storekeepers. They raised a flag and proceeded south towards Spanish Florida, a well known refuge for escapees. On the way, they gathered more recruits, their number now 80. They burned 7 plantations and killed 20 whites. South Carolina's Lieutenant Governor, William Bull, and four of his friends ran into the group on horseback. The Lieutenant Governor fled and warned other slave-holders. They...
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