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Black Freedom in the Age of Slavery

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About the Author

John Garrison Marks works for the American Association for State and Local History and holds a Ph.D. in history from Rice University. He is the coeditor of Race and Nation in the Age of Emancipations: An Atlantic World Anthology and his work has appeared in Southwestern Historical Quarterly and Atlantic Studies.


An important contribution to the history of black freedom, this comparative study of free people of color in Charleston and Cartagena is equally attentive to the broader Atlantic and to local economic, social, demographic, and institutional circumstances. The result is a rich, textured, and locally grounded reconstruction of people of African descent's relentless pursuit for standing, respectability, family and community in the Americas."—Alejandro de la Fuente, Harvard University

"Black Freedom in the Age of Slavery makes a crucial contribution to the history of the Atlantic world. By linking the lives of free blacks in Charleston, South Carolina, and Cartagena, Colombia, Marks's work bridges the sites of Atlantic slavery, treating disparate geographies as fundamentally linked and raising broad and important questions about the nature of black freedom. Marks's deeply researched and beautifully written study is an important work that will impact the fields of Latin American history, North American history, the histories of slavery and freedom, and beyond."—Jennifer L. Morgan, New York University

"In Black Freedom in the Age of Slavery John Marks has produced a carefully researched and innovative study of how enslaved people in the Atlantic slave ports of Cartagena and Charleston achieved freedom and sought respectability under very different social, economic, and political systems. The key he argues, was the access to public institutions free people of color enjoyed in the Spanish city, and the commitment Charlestonians made to preserve slavery in perpetuity. Based on deep archival research in Colombia, Spain, and the United States, this is a welcome contribution to the study of slavery, racism, and emancipation."— Jane Landers, Vanderbilt University

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