Slavery Obscured aims to assess how the slave trade affected the social life and cultural outlook of the citizens of a major English city, and contends that its impact was more profound than has previously been acknowledged. Based on original research in archives in Britain and America, this title builds on scholarship in the economic history of the slave trade to ask questions about the way slave-derived wealth underpinned the city of Bristol's urban development and its growing gentility. How much did Bristol's Georgian renaissance owe to such wealth? Who were the major players and beneficiaries of the African and West Indian trades? How, in an ever-changing historical environment, were enslaved Africans represented in the city's press, theatre and political discourse? What do previously unexplored religious, legal and private records tell us about the black presence in Bristol or about the attitudes of white seamen, colonists and merchants towards slavery and race? What role did white women and artisans play in Bristol's anti-slavery movement?
Combining a historical and anthropological approach, Slavery Obscured, seeks to shed new light on the contradictory and complex history of an English slaving port and to prompt new ways of looking at British national identity, race and history.
About the Author
Madge Dresser is Associate Professor in Social and Cultural British History c.1688-1835 at the University of the West of England, UK, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
Table of Contents
1. Bristol and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
2. Cultural Exchanges: The Representation of Black People and the Black Presence in Bristol, c. 1700-75
3. Gentility and Slavery: Bristol's Urban Renaissance Reconsidered, c. 1673-c. 1820
4. Thinking about the Salve Trade: Abolition and Its Opponents, 1760-91
5. Abolition in a Cold Climate, 1792-1807
6. The Struggle for Emancipation
Conclusion: Threshold of Recollection
Selected Bibliography of Unpublished Primary Sources