Slavery on the Periphery
The Kansas-Missouri Border in the Antebellum and Civil War Eras
University of Georgia Press 2016
New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in the American WestNew Books Network August 16, 2018 Stephen Hausmann
The Kansas-Missouri border holds a place of infamy in the history of American slavery as the chief battleground of the Bleeding Kansas crisis of the mid-nineteenth century. Kristen Epps, an associate professor of history at the University of Central Arkansas, argues that there is much more to the region’s story in Slavery on the Periphery: The Kansas-Missouri Border in the Antebellum and Civil War Eras (University of Georgia Press, 2016). Epps provides in-depth detail about the social history of slavery in the border region, from the institution’s roots in the early nineteenth century up through the chaos and bloodshed wrought by the Civil War in this divided region. Along the way, Slavery on the Periphery shows how the mobility of enslaved people within a system of smaller scale slavery allowed them greater autonomy while also creating unique challenges. Rather than an afterthought, the American West was a crucial battleground for American slavery not just ideologically, but also materially, and Epps rightfully places the lives of people caught in its midst at the center of the story.
Stephen Hausmann is a doctoral candidate at Temple University and Visiting Instructor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently writing his dissertation, a history of race and the environment in the Black Hills and surrounding northern plains region of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.