Singing The Master: The Emergence of African-American Culture in the PlantationSouth

Paperback | January 1, 1994

byRoger D. Abrahams

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“Impressive…A scrupulously researched work enlarging our understanding of an integral aspect of slave culture.” – The Washington Post Book World

What was it like to be a slave on a plantation of the antebellum South? How did the fiction of the happy slave and myth of the plantation “family” evolve? How did slaves create a performance style that unified them, while simultaneously entertaining and mocking the master?

The answers to these questions may be found in the groundbreaking study of the corn-shucking ceremonies of the prewar South, where white masters played host to local slaves and watched their “guests” perform exuberant displays of singing and dancing. Drawing on the detailed written and oral histories of masters, slaves, and Northern commentators, distinguished folklorist Roger Abrahams peels through layers of racism and nostalgia surrounding this celebration to uncover its true significance in the lives and imagination of both blacks and whites – and in the evolution of an enduring African-American culture.

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From the Publisher

“Impressive…A scrupulously researched work enlarging our understanding of an integral aspect of slave culture.” – The Washington Post Book WorldWhat was it like to be a slave on a plantation of the antebellum South? How did the fiction of the happy slave and myth of the plantation “family” evolve? How did slaves create a performance st...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8 × 5.3 × 0.9 inPublished:January 1, 1994Publisher:Penguin Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140179194

ISBN - 13:9780140179194

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction

ONE "Ain't You Gwine to the Shucking of the Corn?"
TWO Orders within Order: Cavalier and Slave Culture on the Plantation
THREE An American Version of Pastoral
FOUR Festive Spirit in the Development of African American Style
FIVE Signifying Leadership on the Plantation
SIX Powerful Imitations

Coda: Freedom Mighty Sweet
Notes

APPENDIX I: The Corn-Shucking Accounts
APPENDIX II: Accounts from Interviews with Ex-Slaves

Index