BLOGROLL: Sandra Greene and the Curious History of Slavery in Africa | Cornell Research

Cornell University feature on the work of scholar Sandra Greene:

“Sandra Greene writes about the history of slavery in West Africa, where warring political communities in previous centuries enslaved their enemies….”

“Greene has written a series of books, examining the nature of slavery in West Africa—how it operated and what forms it took. Her latest book, Slave Owners of West Africa: Decision-Making in the Age of Abolition (Indiana University Press, 2017), looks at three slave owners and their responses to the abolition of slavery in the late eighteen hundreds. “Each responded in a different way,” says Greene, “but their responses were not unique to them. I wanted to look at their reasons for what they did and the long-term consequences of their decisions.”

“One of the three slave owners Green studied vigorously resisted abolition. “He moved his slaves outside British territory where slavery was still legal, so he could continue to have them,” says Greene. “Some of them escaped, but the rest continued to be slaves and eventually their descendants became part of the family but at a lower status than those members of the family descended from nonslaves.”

“On the other hand, another slave owner saw a better way to keep the prestige and power he enjoyed as a slave owner with many people under his rule. He chose to incorporate his slaves into his family. “He sent the best and brightest to England for schooling,” says Greene. “They became doctors and lawyers, and some staffed his business as accountants. His family became extremely prosperous. He offered them opportunities so that they decided to stay with him of their own free will. To this day, that family is very prominent, highly educated, and cohesive. They don’t distinguish between the origins of family members but instead support all members of the family equally….”

Read it all: The Curious History of Slavery in Africa | Cornell Research

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