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Alternative Sources of Energy Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I’d like to tell you something about the topic alternative sources of energy. Definition: First I want to give you a short definition about alternative sources of energy. Alternative energy is energy that is neither based on fossil fuels nor on the splitting of atoms. It is usually a renewable source of energy that could be used should fossil fuels run out. I want now like to turn to the question: Why do we need alternatives. To answer that question, we need to start…

Low Country Slaves: Comparing Three Sources

The successful establishment and growth of the large-scale rice economy of low country South Carolina and Georgia in the late 17th-19th century was dependent not only upon the physical labor of African slaves, but also their indigenous knowledge of rice cultivation in moist and agriculturally challenging environments, a knowledge that European colonists lacked.

The mutual interdependence established therein produced a dynamic relationship between slave and master, one that granted slaves increased negotiating power. In addition, the unique labor system and environment associated with rice plantations allowed for subsistence food production and facilitated the creation of an autonomous slave culture.

These circumstances combined to form a reality characterized by an increased level of freedom that was markedly different from that of slaves on tobacco and cotton plantations in colonial North America.

Geographer and historian Judith Carney, in Rice and Slaves in the Low Country, stresses African indigenous knowledge of rice cultivation as the foundation of the Carolina rice economy and discusses the negotiated relationship that evolved between slave and master.

Carney writes that, “to find the origins of rice cultivation one must […] look to Africans, who were among the earliest settlers in the Americas, for adapting the crop to challenging New World conditions.”[1] Africans’ knowledge of rice production and ability to work the land, she argues, established a mutual interdependence between slave and planter that “provided slaves leverage to negotiate and alter some of the terms of their bondage.”[2] Carney mentions subsistence food production among slaves, but does not expound on its connection to the slave culture that developed on the southern rice plantations.

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Stewart explains how the task labor system, unique to rice plantations, granted slaves their “own time” during which they navigated the estuarine landscape in an around their plantations, grew subsistence crops, harvested meat and seafood, sold or traded surplus goods, and visited slave communities on nearby plantations.

This free time and geographic mobility fostered the creation of an autonomous slave culture with its own communal networks, patchworks of food producing land, and folklore traditions that remained intact well past the civil war.[4]

Selected excerpts from the Georgia Writers’ Project, Drums and Shadows: Survival Studies Among the Georgia Coastal Negroes, support both Carney’s and Stewart’s assertions that subsistence food was being produced by slaves on southern rice plantations and that it was of African origin, as well as Stewart’s description of emergent slave cultures.

He plant mosly benne an rice. I plant a lill benne eby yeah too. He use tuh beat benne seed in mawtuh an pestle, sometime wid a lill shuguh an sometime wid a lill salt and make a pase. He eat it on bread aw he eat it jis so.[5]

Rosanne recounts her father growing rice and benne, another name for sesame seeds, which are native to West Africa. Other excerpts illustrate a rich folklore, one that reflects both African tradition and a relationship with a new environment.[6]

            Judith Carney argues that the southern rice economy of colonial North America had its roots in indigenous West African knowledge, and that this created a mutual interdependence and subsequent negotiated slave/master relationship.

The excerpts from Drums and Shadows ties these two sources together by providing first-hand accounts that serve to support the primary claims made in both.



[1] Carney, Judith, “Rice and Salves in the Low Country,” in Major Problems in American Environmental History, ed. Carolyn Merchant (Wadsworth: Boston, 2012), 129. Print.

[2] Carney, Judith. “Rice and Salves in the Low Country,” in Major Problems in American Environmental History. ed. Carolyn Merchant (Wadsworth: Boston, 2012). 129. Print.

[3] Stewart, Mart A. "Rice, Water, and Power: Landscapes of Domination and Resistance in the Lowcountry, 1790- 1880." Environmental History Review 15.3 (1991): 52. Web.

[5] Georgia Writers' Project. Drums and Shadows: Survival Studies Among the Georgia Coastal Negroes. Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint, 1974. 71 Print.

[6] Georgia Writers' Project. Drums and Shadows: Survival Studies Among the Georgia Coastal Negroes. Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint, 1974. 110-111; 160-161; 171. Print.


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