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HirelingsAfrican American Workers and Free Labor in Early Maryland$
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Jennifer Hull Dorsey

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801447785

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801447785.001.0001

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(p.61) 3 Family

Jennifer Hull Dorsey

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how gradual manumission divided African American families between slavery and freedom, strategies for maintaining familial integrity across that divide, and free African Americans' advancement toward autonomous households. It also considers how manumitted African Americans assumed the responsibility for making their families whole, such as purchasing freedom for spouses, children, and other family members left behind in slavery. It describes the African American family as an economic unit, with family members, even in freedom, choosing to remain connected to one another. It shows that some families wanted to live in close proximity to their own family, a choice that could have facilitated cooperation and collaboration among family members.

Keywords:   manumission, African American families, slavery, freedom, free African Americans, autonomous households, manumitted African Americans, cooperation

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