Justene Hill Edwards is the author of Unfree Markets: The Slaves’ Economy and the Rise of Capitalism in South Carolina (Columbia University Press, 2021). Unfree Markets focuses in on an area of slavery’s history that has seldom been explore: the economic lives of enslaved people, and its meaning for them, enslavers, non-enslavers, and the institution of slavery itself. Hill Edwards explores how the complicated history of the slaves’ economy from the colonial period to the Civil War, showing the relationship between it and the development of capitalism in the nation. Through a history of enterprise, cultivation, markets, and people, Hill Edwards shows just how much the tenuous the connection between economic activity and freedom for the enslaved became throughout this time period, and what that meant for everyone involved.
Justene Hill Edwards is an assistant professor of history at the University of Virginia.
Derek Litvak is a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland—College Park.
Derek Litvak is a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland—College Park. His dissertation, "The Specter of Black Citizens: Race, Slavery, and Citizenship in the Early United States," examines how citizenship was used to both bolster the institution of slavery and exclude Black Americans from the body politic.