Becoming free, becoming Black : race, freedom, and law in Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana / Alejandro de la Fuente, Ariela J. Gross.

Fuente, Alejandro de la, 1963- [Browse]
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2020.
1 online resource (xiv, 281 pages)


Studies in legal history [More in this series]
Summary note
How did Africans become 'blacks' in the Americas? Becoming Free, Becoming Black tells the story of enslaved and free people of color who used the law to claim freedom and citizenship for themselves and their loved ones. Their communities challenged slaveholders' efforts to make blackness synonymous with slavery. Looking closely at three slave societies - Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana - Alejandro de la Fuente and Ariela J. Gross demonstrate that the law of freedom - not slavery - established the meaning of blackness in law. Contests over freedom determined whether and how it was possible to move from slave to free status, and whether claims to citizenship would be tied to racial identity. Laws regulating the lives and institutions of free people of color created the boundaries between black and white, the rights reserved to white people, and the degradations imposed only on black people.
Title from publisher's bibliographic system (viewed on 15 Jan 2020).
  • "A Negro and by consequence an alien" : local regulations and the making of race, 1500s-1700s
  • The "inconvenience" of Black freedom : manumission, 1500s-1700s
  • "The natural right of all mankind" : claiming freedom in the age of revolution, 1760s-1830
  • "Rules ... for their expulsion" : foreclosing freedom, 1830s-1860
  • "Not of the same blood" : policing racial boundaries, 1830s-1860
  • Conclusion: "Home-born citizens" : the significance of free people of color.
9781108612951 (ebook)
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