Race and Freedom on Virginia's Eastern Shore, 1640-1676
T.H. Breen and Stephen Innes, Oxford Press, 1980
T.H. Breen's book "Myne Owne Ground" brings about a different perspective of what living in the south and being black was like. It shows how a black was capable of great things and able to amass wealth equal to that of wealthy white gentlemen but is never recognized for it. Unlike other history books this one doesn't go on about slavery and it cruelty but instead offers a few examples of the accomplishments blacks were capable of. One such example was that of a man named Anthony Johnson who was able to escape slavery and establish himself as a hard working man and then later on as a land owning free black. He was able to raise a family and run a plantation sized farm but never gained the respect he deserved. I would have never known blacks were capable of such feats had I not read this book which brings about the issue of an authors opinion being present in his writing. Most other history books stay along the lines of describing how horrible slavery was from the beginning to the end, but rarely do they mention the lives of free blacks.
Free blacks often had to work twice if not more times harder then whites to get the same amount of pay. For that same reason many free blacks lived a horrible life that could even be said to be worse then some blacks that lived in slavery. Different slave owners would treat their slaves differently. For example, some slaves would live in the house with their owners and eat the same food their owners ate. While others would sleep in the barn and eat table scraps that in today's society would not even be good enough for pets. Some slaves were able to buy their freedom and leave their owner's comfortable house only to have to work 12 hours a day and regret ever leaving the life they once had. This of course did not happen to all blacks that received their freedom back. Some were able to... [continues]
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