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Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery

Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery (Paperback)

£46.50
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Synopsis

Behind the ""Big Houses"" of the antebellum South existed a different world, socially and architecturally, where slaves lived and worked. John Michael Vlach explores the structures and spaces that formed the slaves' environment. Through photographs and the words of former slaves, he portrays the plantation landscape from the slaves' own point of view. The plantation landscape was chiefly the creation of slaveholders, but Vlach argues convincingly that slaves imbued this landscape with their own meanings. Their subtle acts of appropriation constituted one of the more effective strategies of slave resistance and one that provided a locus for the formation of a distinctive African American culture in the South. Vlach has chosen more than 200 photographs and drawings from the Historic American Buildings Survey--an archive that has been mined many times for its images of the planters' residences but rarely for those of slave dwellings. In a dramatic photographic tour, Vlach leads readers through kitchens, smokehouses, dairies, barns and stables, and overseers' houses, finally reaching the slave quarters. To evoke a firsthand sense of what it was like to live and work in these spaces, he includes excerpts from the moving testimonies of former slaves drawn from the Federal Writers' Project collections. |Exploring the structures and spaces used by slaves on antebellum plantations, Vlach shows how slaves subtly appropriated this landscape as their own. These newly claimed spaces fostered a feeling of community that served as a seedbed for further resistance and for the invention and maintenance of a distinctive African American culture. 206 illustrations. A New York Times Notable Book.

Architecture & DesignArchitectureHistory of architecture & Preservation of BuildingsArchitecture & DesignArchitectureResidential buildings, domestic buildingsHistory & PoliticsHistory: specific events & topicsSlavery & abolition of slaveryHistory & PoliticsHistory: specific events & topicsSocial & cultural history Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press Publication Date: 28/05/1993 ISBN-13: 9780807844120  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
Availability: To Order. Estimated despatch in 1-3 weeks.  

John Michael Vlach is professor of American studies and anthropology and director of the folklife program at The George Washington University. His books include The Planter's Prospect: Privilege and Slavery in Plantation Paintings and The Afro-American Tradition in the Decorative Arts.

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