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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.118) 6 Recession

Jennifer Hull Dorsey

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the impact of economic recession on the wartime grain trade on the Eastern Shore in general and on rural free African Americans in particular. It first considers the response of planters to recession, such as joining the Maryland Agricultural Society, resettling in the Deep South, and selling surplus slaves to the new class of interstate slave traders. It shows that the economic crisis restricted trade and finance, resulting in unemployment, underemployment, and limited employment opportunities for free African Americans. Reduced wages and chronic underemployment forced many urban African Americans and their families to seek public assistance. The chapter also discusses the increase in racial violence during the period and how the recession affected the structure and development of African American neighborhoods.

Keywords:   economic recession, grain trade, Eastern Shore, free African Americans, planters, Maryland Agricultural Society, Deep South, slaves, unemployment, racial violence

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