Warren E. Milteer, Jr.Dec 20, 2021
Beyond Slavery's Shadow
Free People of Color in the South
University of North Carolina Press 2021
We often focus on enslaved people of color but Dr. Warren E. Milteer Jr.’s Beyond Slavery's Shadow: Free People of Color in the South (UNC Press, 2021) directs our attention to the people of color who were free -- and the complex web of intersecting values that led to significant inconsistencies in how they were treated and the institutions they built for themselves. Although many white southerners prized the racial hierarchy, Milteer insists that they also recognized other forms of hierarchy such as “gender, wealth, reputation, occupation, and family connections.” Engaging how these other forms of hierarchy intersected with racial categorization creates a rich history of how free people of color in the South negotiated legal regimes, political ideas, and institutions to carve out as much freedom as possible. Rejecting laws and political rhetoric as the only evidence for discerning the viewpoints of everyday people, Beyond Slavery’s Shadows places everyday people in their wider political and social contexts by drawing from an impressive catalogue of sources. The book accounts for how diverse political and social attitudes could coexist while it provides a remarkable history of law, colonization, taxes, labor, immigration, and gender.
Dr. Warren E. Milteer, Jr. is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is also the author of North Carolina's Free People of Color, 1715-1885 (LSU Press, 2020).
Daniella Campos assisted with this podcast.
Susan Liebell is Dirk Warren '50 Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.