Rearing wolves to our own destruction : slavery in Richmond, Virginia, 1782-1865 /

Richmond was not only the capital of Virginia and of the Confederacy, it was also one of the most industrialized cities south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Boasting ironworks, tobacco-processing plants, and flour mills, the city by 1860 drew half of its male workforce from the local slave population. "Re... Full description

Main Author: Takagi, Midori, 1962-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Charlottesville, Va. : University Press of Virginia, 1999
Series: Carter G. Woodson Institute series in Black studies
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Review by Choice Review

Takagi's study is an outstanding addition to the literature placing slaves at the center of slave history. Addressing urban rather than plantation slavery, she focuses on Richmond, Virginia, which came to depend heavily on unfree labor for its industrial development. One of the most important industrial centers in the South, Richmond relied on slave labor for processing tobacco, milling wheat, mining coal in nearby fields, and manufacturing iron. Urban slaves dwelt in a different milieu from that of plantation slaves. They often lived apart from their masters, gaining skills and enjoying independence in diet, clothing, and leisure activities. These aspects of their daily lives, Takagi suggests, threatened "the ideological foundations of slavery." The slave system was compromised, she argues, not so much by living and social conditions as by developing slaves' ability to resist owners' control. Emancipation found Richmond slaves to be an unusually strong black community. Takagi significantly adds to the work of Richard Wade and others. Based on tedious examination of archives, well organized and well written, her book is suitable for upper-division undergraduates and above. J. A. Rawley University of Nebraska--Lincoln

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.