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    By: Heather Andrea Williams

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    "This short introduction to American slavery begins with the Portuguese capture of Africans in the 1400s and, drawing upon the scholarship of numerous historians as well as the analysis of primary documents, explores the development of slavery in the American colonies and later, the United States of America. It analyzes early legislation in Virginia that differentiated Indians and Africans from Europeans and began the process of stratifying society based on racial categories. Unlike some recent scholarship, it is attentive to the actual labor that enslaved people performed, reminding us that more than anything else, slavery was a system of forced labor that produced wealth for a new nation. And, it considers the tensions that arose between enslaved and enslavers as they interacted with one another, exerting control and undermining efforts at domination. Throughout, it explores slavery within the context of moral contradiction that included the development of an ideology that valorized freedom alongside apractice and justification of slavery that deemed inferior and denied freedom to a large swath of the population. The book explores conflicts between abolitionists who worked to eliminate slavery and pro-slavery advocates who worked doggedly to sustain the power and wealth they derived from the institution. It ends with the abolition of slavery in America following the Civil War"--

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