“Slave Economy and Petit Marronage in VA and NC from 1790 to 1860.”
Dr. Marcus Nevius
History and Africana Studies at URI
Wednesday, September 20, 6:30 – 8:00 PM
Newport Public Library
Free and open to the public; simple refreshments will be served
Dr. Nevius will speak about his upcoming book on the “hidden” but thriving communities of escaped slaves and others in the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina and Virginia. This program is offered in conjunction with The Newport Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Marker Project.
Painting: “Fugitive Slaves in the Dismal Swamp, Virginia” by David Edward Cronin, 1888
Dr. Nevius new book is under contract with the University of Georgia Press’s Race in the Atlantic World 1700-1900 series. It is a story of petit marronage, a clandestine slave’s economy, and the construction of internal improvements in Virginia and North Carolina during the first half of the nineteenth century.
Petit marronage describes a type of escape in which enslaved people repudiated legal and cultural enslavement by taking flight to remote swamps and forests throughout the Americas. The slave’s economy describes the various clandestine exchanges of goods and provisions that sustained maroon colonies.
In examining these themes in the Great Dismal, “city of refuge” engages the historiographies of slave resistance and abolitionism, highlighting each as they unfolded within the Dismal’s extractive economy. What emerges in “city of refuge” is a close study of the ways that American maroons, enslaved canal laborers, white company agents, and commission merchants shaped, and were shaped, by the complex historical problems of race and economic development in the Early American Republic. This is a story based in primary sources including runaway advertisements; planters’ and merchants’ records, inventories, letterbooks and correspondence; colonial, provincial and state records; abolitionist pamphlets and broadsides; slave narratives; county free black registries; and the records and inventories of private companies.