As mentioned before, I am undertaking a new project that involves the study of slavery in Catoosa County. In order to do so, I am building a sturdy base by examining historiography related to slavery in the ‘Deep South’ in comparison to slavery in Appalachia. Today I came across Wilma A. Dunaway’s Women, Work, and Family in the Antebellum Mountain South. Although slavery is not the main focus of the book, Dunaway does provide some keen insight into slavery in Appalachia as she explains its effect on women and the family. Take for example this passage:
Census returns and personal narratives of African-Americans provide conclusive evidence that white Appalachians contributed significantly to the interstate traffic in slaves…Appalachian slaveholders routinely commodified black laborers in two ways. One of every three Upper South slaves was sold annually, most through the interstate slave trade, but fewer than one-third of all Appalachian slave sales were transacted locally. Instead, two of every five Appalachian owners sold slaves to traders engaged in interstate trafficking, many of whom made regular annual or biannual circuits throughout the Upper South.In addition to itinerant traders, some Appalachian entrepreneurs engaged in the practice of buying up local slaves for export. In reality, about 1 of every 154 Appalachian households acquired part of its income from slave trading activities. Much more often than selling, Appalachian masters engaged in commercial trading by hiring out their slaves on a profitable basis. Since one-fifth of the Appalachian narratives record instances of slave hiring, it is evident that Appalachian masters leased out slaves more frequently than other southern slaveholders….
The slave trade was structurally integrated into Appalachian community and town life. Even when their own slave populations were small, Appalachian towns provided the locus for the congregation of buyers and sellers; the p ens, jails, and depots; the exchanges and auctions blocks that supported the slave trade….
This is definitely food for thought.