Chapter

Slavery in Colonial New York

in In the Shadow of Slavery

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780226317748
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226317755 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226317755.003.0002
Slavery in Colonial New York

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Enslavement dominated every facet of colonial black New Yorkers' lives—the work they did, their ability to form families, their religious practices, even how they defined themselves. But black men and women did not simply acquiesce to enslavement or to an inferior racial status. Throughout Dutch and British slavery, enslaved Africans demonstrated through their labor, their resistance to bondage, and their creation of families and communities that the racial stereotypes of inferiority promulgated by Europeans had no basis in reality. Black New Yorkers used Europeans' reliance on their labor, as well as their own knowledge of European ways, to ameliorate the conditions of slavery and to push for full freedom. Recognition of blacks' centrality to colonial New York's economic system and of blacks' continual pursuit of freedom gives the lie to Europeans' claims of African inferiority.

Keywords: colonial New York; enslavement; racial status; black New Yorkers; slavery; full freedom

Chapter.  15738 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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