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There’s always been a mystery why the impartial Father of the human race should have permitted the transportation of so many millions of our fellow creatures to endure all of the miseries of slavery. Perhaps his design was that a knowledge of the gospel might be acquired by some of their descendants in order that they might become qualified to be messengers of it to the land of their fathers…Absalom Jones

An almost wholly inadequate history that attempts to prop up the currently politically correct view of its subject matter there are gaping holes where there were important invents and wholesale treatment of anecdotal history as established fact in weaving a tapestry of whole cloth on what should be a very important subject. Not recommended for serious students.

Death or liberty : African-Americans and revolutionary America  Douglas R. Egerton United States History Revolution 1775-1783 Africans Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2009 Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. x, 342 p. : ill., maps, ports. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [283]-332) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG

In Death or Liberty, Douglas R. Egerton offers a sweeping chronicle of Black American history stretching from Britain’s 1763 victory in the Seven Years’ War to the election of slave holder Thomas Jefferson as president in 1800.

While American slavery is usually identified with the cotton plantations, Egerton shows that on the eve of the Revolution it encompassed everything from wading in the South Carolina rice fields to carting goods around Manhattan to serving the households of Boston’s elite. More important, he recaptures the drama of slaves, freed blacks, and white reformers fighting to make the young nation fulfill its slogans.

Although this struggle often unfolded in the corridors of power, Egerton pays special attention to what black Americans did for themselves in these decades, and his narrative brims with compelling portraits of forgotten figures such as Quok Walker, a Massachusetts runaway who took his master to court and thereby helped end slavery in that state; Absalom Jones, a Delaware house slave who bought his freedom and later formed the Free African Society; and Gabriel, a young Virginia artisan who was hanged for plotting to seize Richmond and hold James Monroe hostage.

Egerton argues that the Founders lacked the courage to move decisively against slavery despite the real possibility of peaceful, if gradual, emancipation. Battling huge odds, blacks succeeded in finding liberty – but never equality – in a few northern states. Canvassing every colony and state, as well as incorporating the wider Atlantic world, Death or Liberty offers an  account of black Americans and the Revolutionary era in America.

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