Slavery's Metropolis: Unfree Labor in New Orleans during the Age of Revolutions

TitleSlavery's Metropolis: Unfree Labor in New Orleans during the Age of Revolutions
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsJohnson, Rashauna
Number of Pages236
PublisherCambridge University Press

Following routes traveled by people of African descent from revolutionary Saint-Domingue to New Orleans to Trinidad against the backdrop of warring nations and empires, Slavery's Metropolis demonstrates the formative role of chattel slavery in the transformation of New Orleans from colonial outpost to global metropolis. From sources including notarial documents, runaway ads, and oral interviews from the Louisiana Works Progress Administration, Johnson theorizes the "international, interconnected, and itinerant" experience of slavery in the region as a "confined cosmopolitanism." Johnson frames her contribution to Black Atlantic and urban history around the geographies where Black people lived and labored, from plantations to urban households, ships to markets, and taverns to prisons. Slavery's Metropolis reveals how enslaved and free people built regional networks, communities, and lifeways within "geographies of containment" that mapped enduring patterns of racialized citizenship and economic inequality. 

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