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Working the DiasporaThe Impact of African Labor on the Anglo-American World, 1650-1850$
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Frederick C. Knight

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814748183

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814748183.001.0001

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Slave Artisans

Slave Artisans

Black Nonagricultural Workers in Colonial America and the Antebellum South

(p.111) 5 Slave Artisans
Working the Diaspora

Frederick C. Knight

NYU Press

This chapter looks at the role of African workers in nonagricultural labor. Africans toiled in the mines, fishing waters, and artisan workshops of the British American colonies and early United States, shaping their material culture. While many Africans no longer did the work they had performed before their enslavement in the Americas and others received training from white artisans, many continued their practices on British American plantations. Through this knowledge, such as that among fishers, slaves were able to extract a degree of autonomy from their owners. And while African fishers, woodworkers, miners, tanners, and blacksmiths, like African agricultural workers, played their most important roles during the colonial era, Africans who were imported in the final years of the slave trade or smuggled into the United States continued to have an influence into the nineteenth century.

Keywords:   nonagricultural labor, mining, fishing, artisan workshops, woodworking, tanning, blacksmithing, material culture

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