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Islandwide Struggle for FreedomRevolution, Emancipation, and Reenslavement in Hispaniola, 1789-1809$
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Graham T. Nessler

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469626864

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469626864.001.0001

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They Always Knew Her to Be Free

They Always Knew Her to Be Free

Archiving Liberty in French Santo Domingo, 1804–1809

(p.168) Chapter Six They Always Knew Her to Be Free
Islandwide Struggle for Freedom

Graham T. Nessler

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter involves a close reading of several dozen notarized acts produced in Ferrand-era Santo Domingo by men and women seeking to document and preserve their freedom from (re)enslavement. This part of the work complements the political history told in the other chapters by offering a fine-grained “on-the-ground” portrait of legal strategies to secure freedom in a context of reenslavement. Here, the author also engages with themes such as the role of gender in slavery and emancipation, the reemergence of race as a system of classification in the legal record, and the creation of an archive of race and slavery during a unique moment in the history of Atlantic slavery.

Keywords:   Legal history, Jean-Louis Ferrand, Gender and slavery, Reenslavement, Race, Colonial archives

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