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April 20 , 2011

The Quarters and the Fields

Slave Families in the Non-Cotton South


The Quarters and the Fields offers a unique approach to the examination of slavery. Rather than focusing on slave work and family life on cotton plantations, Damian Pargas compares the practice of slavery among the other major agricultural cultures in the nineteenth-century South: tobacco, mixed grain, rice, and sugar cane. He reveals how the demands of different types of masters and crops influenced work patterns and habits, which in turn shaped slaves' family life.

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By presenting a broader view of the complex forces that shaped enslaved people's family lives, not only from outside but also from within, this book takes an inclusive approach to the slave agency debate. A comparative study that examines the importance of time and place for slave families, The Quarters and the Fields provides a means for understanding them as they truly were: dynamic social units that were formed and existed under different circumstances across time and space.

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