Slavery, the Environment, and Black Consciousness in the Antebellum South
This concluding chapter considers the relationship between slave work practices and ideologies. In particular, since slaves spent the bulk of their time working in the natural world, nature and its metaphors were prominent in their vision of power dynamics and human relationships. Their poetry, folklore, oral history, autobiographies, and other sources reveal that slaves saw the natural world as a metaphor for their own experience as subjects, a domain that offered escape from the confines of slavery, and an object of veneration. For instance, the forests not only created a barrier separating slaves from the outside world but also served as a refuge for runaways. The fields were not only places of work under the scorching sun but also places where slaves had sublime visions.
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