Images: The engraving on the left supposedly depicts a “Coromantyn” person living in the Dutch colony of Suriname in the late-eighteenth century. The picture on the right supposedly depicts a “Congo” person living in South Carolina in the mid-nineteenth century. Both images show an interest in labeling African provenance in the early-modern era.

Epigraphs: “There is a vast difference in the…dispositions of the Negroes, according to the coasts they come from.” – B. Moreton, West India Customs and Manners, 1793[1]

“…good subjects are frequently found in cargoes of the worst reputation, and bad ones in those of the best. The country, therefore, forms only a presumptive evidence of quality, which may mislead…”- Anonymous, Practical Rules for the Management and Medical Treatment of Negro Slaves, 1803[2]

Introduction: Mandingo. Jollof. Ballum. Kissy. Temne. Coromantee. Chamba. Asante. Papaw. Nago. Dome. Igbo. Moco. Angola. Mungola. Kongo. For scholars who work on both slavery in the Americas and the Black Diaspora in what historians often define as the early-modern era (1490s-1830s), at least some of these words will be familiar. They are words that appear to a varying degree in the documentary record of the Atlantic colonies, from English-speaking New York to Dutch-speaking Suriname and Portuguese-speaking Brazil. More precisely, historians call these terms ethnic, national, or provenance labels. They are words that were used by both blacks and whites to differentiate between Africans in the Americas. As contemporary authors indicated, these labels were associated in the minds of early-modern writers with what we generally call ethnicities or nationalities, but what contemporaries more often referred to as “countries,” “nations,” and sometimes even “races.” Even more important, these labels were associated with provenance: areas of the African coast out of which slaves embarked on the Middle Passage. For example, Mandingo was used for people from Senegambia on the Upper Guinea Coast; Ibo for those from the Bight of Biafra on the Lower Guinea Coast; and Congo for those from Congo-Angola in West-Central Africa.[1]

Provenance labels are common in the documentary record of the early-modern period. As the historian Michael Mullin has written, “ordinary people identified Africans as members of particular societies more carefully than scholars have given them credit for doing.” From the engravings that were featured in travel narratives like that of John Gabriel Stedman in 1796, to the black-and-white photographs that were taken by J.T. Zealy in 1850, the evidence demonstrates that many people in the early-modern period had a desire to see beyond monolithic categories like “African,” “black,” or “negro.” Instead, they expressed an interest in representing difference among Africans in both visual and literary forms. However, as the two epigraphs featured above show, these same contemporaries often disagreed about how reliable provenance labels really were for determining the origin, culture, or behavior of an African person who was brought into American slavery.[2]

Since the first decades of the twentieth century, historians have shared in this ambivalence about the use of provenance labels as terms of analysis or as potential primary sources. Some, like Michael Gomez, have used these labels as one of their main categories of analysis, and they have shaped their studies around a close reading of them. Other scholars, like Randy Sparks, have taken notice of these labels but have chosen to avoid analyzing them. Instead of investigating them, these authors have relied on simple, straight-forward, and one-dimensional definitions. Still other writers, like Eugene Genovese, have chosen to ignore them entirely, seeing them as awkward distractions to far more meaningful categories like “slave” and “master” or “black” and “white.” Finally, there are those like Walter Johnson, who have chosen to use provenance labels in passing, but only as evidence of a multiculturalism and diversity that provided the foundation for an African-American culture that was quickly becoming unified. Like the English book-keeper J.B. Moreton and the unknown author of Practical Rules, historians have interpreted provenance labels as everything from evidence for theories of geographical determinism to red herrings in the historical record.[3]

The purpose of this historiographical paper is to provide an introduction to the major ways in which historians have interpreted provenance labels in their histories of Atlantic slavery and the Black Diaspora in the early-modern period. Instead of narrating the historiography of these labels over time, I have chosen to frame this paper around the practical and ideological issues associated with using provenance labels as primary sources. I begin by summarizing the main practical issues. Then I discuss the ideological issues in the context of two prevailing, conflicting, and representative theories about African provenance. I call these theories the “direct transfer thesis” and “neo-ethnicity thesis.” After summarizing these approaches, I trace their roots to debates that have been going on since the early-twentieth century. Finally, I end by analyzing a recent work by the historian Sean Kelley called The Voyage of the Slave Ship Hare. Kelley’s work represents an emerging trend in the study of provenance labels—a middle-way that grounds the analysis of these sources in particular historical contexts and moves beyond what many see as a stymied theoretical dichotomy. To refine its focus, this essay places disproportionate emphasis on a particular label. This is “Coromantee,” a word used in the early-modern era to describe Africans from the Gold Coast of West Africa, a region that roughly corresponds to the borders of present-day Ghana.[4]

The Practical Issues of Working with Provenance Labels:

First, there are many practical challenges involved in working with provenance labels. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges is that historians cannot always make comparisons across geographic, imperial, or colonial contexts. As Mullin observes in his comprehensive study, Africa in America, a single set of provenance labels was not deployed consistently across all of the European colonies, or even in just the Anglo colonies. Certain colonial societies had identified African people with labels in their records more often than others did, and both the terms used and the connotations associated with them changed from place to place. In the British colony of Jamaica, whites reported the provenance of runaway Africans in fugitive slave advertisements at a rate of 99.5%. In Maryland, this number was only 4.8%. Given these vast discrepancies, Mullin poses an important question, “How did incoming Africans, of whom we still know very little, provoke whites in some societies to talk about them as representative of actual African societies?” Similarly, while Jamaican authors like Edward Long wrote about the Coromantee being the most violent Africans in the colony, this reputation was not consistent. South Carolinians reserved that same designation for Africans from Angola. Moreover, this problem becomes even more frustrating when working across imperial contexts. As Walter Rucker has noted, Africans from the Gold Coast region were not labeled as Coromantee in the non-Anglophone colonies. Different labels, like Delmina, Amina and Mina, were used to label Africans who came from these same geographic areas in the colonies of Dutch Berbice, the Danish Virgian Islands, and French and Spanish Louisiana.[5]

Another practical difficulty of working with ethnic labels in the Americas is the fact historians can rarely be confident that two contemporaries were talking about the same people when they used the same word. While many authors acknowledged a connection between Coromantees and the Gold Coast, seldom did they articulate or agree upon any other clear criteria for identifying a Coromantee person. Some writers claimed they could identify them by the Coromantee language, by physical features, or by behaviors. However, their observations instill little confidence that they knew Gold Coast languages when they heard them spoken, and they almost always wrote of physical features and behaviors in the most general of terms, such as when the Jamaican historian Bryan Edwards talked about the Coromantees’ “firmness of body and mind.” On the one hand, Mullin states that whites identified African ethnicity in three ways: looks, ritual scarification patterns, and dialect or language. On the other hand, the statement below, taken from the anonymous author of a pamphlet from Louisiana, reminds us that these methods were imperfect at best. “The value…of each of these tribes for the purposes of slavery, must be deduced from the national habit,” writes the author; “though it is frequently difficult to ascertain from what country they have been drawn; neither their language, nor their cicatrices, affording certain indications in that respect.”[6]

And yet, the lack of a uniform application and definition for these ethnic, national, or provenance labels is not the only obstacle associated with using them as sources. Another obstacle is that, as Audra Diptee and Jessica Krug state, provenance labels often have “no basis in indigenous African social organizations of the eighteenth century.” For example, Coromantee was not used to describe a Gold Coast people in pre-colonial Africa. Instead, Coromantee—its etymology still unknown to scholars—was a local name for two Fantee landing ports. These ports became the location of the first English trading post on the Lower Guinea Coast in 1645. The post was captured by the Dutch, renamed Fort Amsterdam, owned by them throughout the early-modern era, and the British only exported an average of 1.1% of slaves from there in the eighteenth century. Nonetheless, the English came to use derivatives of the word Coromantee to refer to all of the Africans whom they associated with the region of the Gold Coast. English and Dutch colonists seem to have used the word since at least the 1660s, when an English author named Aphra Behn, who traveled to Suriname, likely picked it up. The point here is that historians cannot always connect provenance labels neatly to precolonial African societies. Like Coromantee, the provenance labels of Whydah, Mina, Popo, and Bonny are all place-names rather than the names of cultures, states, or societies.[7]

Another problem associated with provenance labels is that many of them achieved the status of dominant stereotypes during the early-modern era. As Douglas Chambers has observed, the label of Coromantee achieved the status of a “master discursive metaphor” in the work of many colonial authors. This “master discursive metaphor” was a one-dimensional stereotype that signified Africans, ostensibly from the larger Gold Coast region, who fit a dichotomy of being valuable plantation workers and potentially dangerous rebels at the same time. As one writer of the age has summarized, Coromatees were “grateful and obedient to a kind master, but implacably revengeful when ill-treated.” The historian David Northup has noticed the same phenomena for the provenance label of Igbo, which was used to refer to Africans who hailed from the Bight of Biafra region and yet somehow became synonymous with despondent and weak plantations workers who were especially prone to suicide. As he concludes, “ethnographic labels commonly used by Europeans greatly enlarged and simplified African identity groups in the era of the Atlantic slave trade.” The point here is that historians must wade through many stereotypical descriptions of Coromantee, Igbo, Mandingo, and other peoples if they want to get closer to understanding the identities underneath. As Northrup writes, historians must learn to separate Igbo from “myth Igbo.”[8]

In some ways, historians used to write about African ethnicity in the Americas with much more confidence than they do today. Part of the reason for this change is that many older methods for determining provenance or ethnicity have come under renewed critique. Simon Newman and his co-authors have summarized these various critiques in their article, “The West African Ethnicity of the Enslaved in Jamaica.” They have shown why African names, languages, and slave trade records associated with the Gold Coast are not necessarily reliable indicators of an African person’s Gold Coast origins. For example, white slave-owners occasionally gave out Coromantee day names because they saw them as generic black or African names; centuries of commerce, and the local slave trade in particular, meant that Coromantee languages and dialects were common among diverse Africans of the Lower Guinea Coast who were not necessarily from the Gold Coast itself; and the exceptional Voyages database only lists the last port of disembarkation in West Africa and the initial port of embarkation in the Americas for all enslaved Africans; it does not tell researchers whether an enslaved person was originally from the Gold Coast or confirm they were not resold later. As Greg O’Malley writes in Final Passages, his detailed study of the inter-colonial slave trade, “Knowing that a group of captives departed Africa from a particular port or region does not equate to knowing their ethnicity, sense of identity, or language with precision.” As he confirms, “the routes people traveled to [and from] African ports were complex and evolving.”[9]

The Ideological Issues of Working with Provenance Labels:

Clearly, there are no shortage of practical difficulties associated with trying to use provenance labels as historical evidence. However, there are also real ideological difficulties that historians should anticipate when they take provenance labels seriously as source material. At the risk of oversimplifying the main interpretations, we may call these ideological camps the “direct transfer” and “neo-ethnicity” thesis. In its most basic form, the first group argues that provenance labels, as they appear in the documentary record, do indeed correspond to specific ethnic, linguistic, cultural, social, and/or political units from Africa. Members of this camp have used different criteria as their basis for that unit’s formation. Perhaps most notable is the work of John Thornton in the late 1990s. Thornton argued that so-called Coromantees in the Americas coalesced around a shared ethnolinguistic culture that was based upon a lingua franca from their homeland of the Gold Coast. This was the language which would come to be known as Twi-Asante or Akan in the nineteenth century. Walter Rucker, on the other hand, has argued that language was only one of many “shared cultural technologies” that linked Africans from the Gold Coast to “Coromantees” in the Americas.  Another scholar accused of belonging to this “direct transfer” group is Kwasi Konadu. Recently, Konadu has been the target of critique by Rucker for arguing that the Akan in the diaspora were essentially the early-modern precursors to modern Ghanaians, joined together by a “shared (genetic) language.” As critics argue, this transfer approach risks downplaying the impact of transatlantic slavery, while reducing ethnic labels to a reflection of tribal identities; and, in the process, reproducing the stereotypical ways that colonial-era writers like Moreton classified Africans in their own time. Indeed, since at least the early 1970s, a few scholars of this persuasion, like Monica Schuler, have mirrored colonial authors and written about “ethnic slave rebellions” staged by Coromantees[10]

The second camp is the “neo-ethnicity thesis.” These authors emphasize the disruptive nature of the experience of transatlantic slavery, particularly the ways that slavery randomized plantations and thrust diverse Africans into environments that were ethnically heterogeneous. Among these scholars are those who belong to the school of creolization, which argues that African identities like Coromantee are fundamentally new inventions of the Americas. Crucial to this interpretation is a belief in the inherently destructive nature of Atlantic slavery and the transatlantic slave trade—what Orlando Patterson named “social death” and Stanley Elkins called “infantilization.” Here, individual African cultural “survivals,” as they have often been called, are discussed only in the most vague way. This concept is well summarized in the work of Richard Price, who has argued that invented diasporic identities often borrowed African names to describe themselves, yet these names obscured as much, if not more, than they revealed. In this sense, names like Coromantee pointed “to a particular African people or place,” but were “in fact radical blends of several African traditions.” And so, a drum celebration or a play labeled as Coromantee by an observer might well include African elements from all over the continent. Others, like Vincent Brown, go so far as to dismiss the use of ethnic labels entirely, comparing them to “mere product labels, meant to affect the reduction of humanity to the status of commodity.” As critics argue, this approach risks cutting Africa out of the picture altogether, implying the experience of the Middle Passage was so transformational that there is no need to study precolonial Africa. Although the followers of this thesis are a diverse group, it should come as no surprise that the approach is particularly popular among Americanists like Sidney Mintz, who have less training in precolonial African history.[11]

The Roots of the Ideological Issues:

Interestingly, the roots of these ideological differences can be traced back to the early twentieth century.  At the turn of the century, most of the Progressive-era historians—like James Schouler, Herbert Osgood, and William Dodd among others—worked from a fundamentally racist assumption that African people did not have histories before arriving in America, or at least that they did not have histories worth studying and writing about. To counter these racist assumptions, early African-American scholars like W.E.B. Du Bois set out to investigate connections between America and Africa. Nonetheless, Du Bois proceeded in his project with caution. He believed that “careful research would doubtless reveal many other traces of the African family in America. They would, however, be traces only.” Du Bios thought that anything beyond these vague African traces would be irretrievable because “the effectiveness of the slave system meant the practically complete crushing out of the African clan and family life.” And so, as early as 1908, Du Bois articulated the ideological foundation of the “neo-ethnicity thesis”—the concept that the dehumanizing process of slavery precluded the wholesale persistence of African cultures in the Americas.[12]

Meanwhile, in the early years of the century, perhaps the most widely-read scholar on slavery in North America was the historian Ulrich B. Phillips. In one of his most famous works, American Negro Slavery written in 1918, Phillips acknowledged that, “In the principal importing colonies careful study was given to the comparative qualities of the several African stocks,” and then he proceeded to report the “consensus of opinion in the premises” as “gathered from several contemporary publications.” Phillips surveyed the published works of planter-historians and administrators like Long, Christopher Codrington, and Edwards and parroted their preferences for Africans based upon their perceived provenance. Phillips told readers, for instance, that contemporary figures thought Coromantees were “hardy and stalwart,” Mandingoes were “gentle in demeanor but peculiarly prone to theft,” and Senegalese were “the most intelligent.” In this case, we bear witness to an early scholar doing exactly what proponents of the “neo-ethnicity thesis” would later critique: reproducing the tribal essentialism and geographical determinism of contemporary writers without interrogating what the provenance labels meant to the individual authors who used them or to the people upon whom they were applied. Looking back at the writings of Phillips, we also recognize an early example of an historian who did not know what do with the appearance of provenance labels in the documentary record. Although he may not have had any interest in investigating these labels, he also did not have any knowledge of African history from which to do so.[13]

There is at least one more thing that we can learn about provenance labels from reading the early work of Phillips. Already by the first two decades of the twentieth century, historians examined or avoided provenance labels because of what they could add to a subject that was then called acculturation, but is more often called creolization or ethnogenesis today. This is a question of how and when Africans taken in the slave trade “became Americans” during the early-modern era. Put, differently, “When did African people start to think of themselves as American or not African, and when did they develop unique cultural traits that were not African?” On this subject, Phillip writes, “While produced only in America, the plantation slave was a product of old-world forces. His nature was an African’s profoundly modified…Ceasing to be Foulah, Coromantee, Ebo or Angola, he became instead the American negro.” In this quote, Phillips says that Africans ceased to belong to their old ethnicities and became “the American negro.” However, like many scholars before and after him, he does not indicate when this change occurred or how it can be measured. He does not say, for instance, that Africans “became Americans” when the use of provenance labels declined in the historical record, when abolition of the slave trade stopped new arrivals, or when the first creole or colonial-born generations came of age. The reader is left with the impression that African provenance is a vague precursor to American identity that faded away at an unspecified time. Many writers since Phillips—from Herbert Aptheker to Johnson—have subscribed to this idea. [14]

If the logic of the “neo-ethnicity thesis” was already in place by the early twentieth century, then the logic of the “direct transfer thesis” was emerging only a few decades later. Of course, one may assume that, in order to make confident claims about when “African” traits begin to disappear in the historical record, scholars must first attempt to define what “African” cultural traits actually are. Indeed, this became the goal of the historian Carter G. Woodson and the anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits. In their iconic works, The African Background Outlined or Handbook for the Study of the Negro from 1939 and Myth of the Negro Past from 1941, Woodson and Herskovits talked of discovering specific “African survivals in the behavior of New World Negroes” by starting from the a study of West African cultures. They wanted to account “for the presence or absence of cultural survivals in all of the New World, assessing the intensity of such survivals,” and “discovering how they have changed their form or the way they have assumed new meaning in terms of the historic experience of the peoples considered.” In their approach, Herskovits and Woodson went beyond what any author had previously done in examining the alleged persistence of African cultures in the Americas. For example, they were among the first to attempt to corollate provenance labels with specific language families and political states on the West African coast.[15]

To Herskovits and Woodson, provenance labels like Coromantee were not just projections of colonial writers and traders who wanted to commodify African bodies in order to sell them more easily in the Atlantic market. Rather, provenance labels were signifiers of specific African cultures that had found their way into the Atlantic world via the transatlantic slave trade. These cultures had survived the Middle Passage, even if they survived in a language that was somewhat corrupted. Herskovits, for example, did not follow the lead of Phillips by trusting colonial authors like Long, Codrington, and Edwards. On the contrary, he believed that these authors did not fully understand what they had been describing. Their provenance labels were indicators of African cultural retention, but those cultures had been greatly mistranslated and reduced in the process. In this context, Herskovits writes that the Ashanti and Fanti states of the Gold Coast were improperly called “Coromantes after a place name of their homeland;” the Dahomean and their allies were inaccurately “at times called Whydahs, after the major seacoast town of Dahomey” and the “Pawpaws” were named for “Popo, a town not far to the west.” Basically, Herskovits argued that provenance labels were not useless as primary sources, provided that they were properly translated by a scholar who was knowledgeable about African cultures and societies. In making this argument, Herskovits became one of the first proponent of the “direct-transfer thesis” in the twentieth century.[16]

Not all scholars were receptive to ideas by Herskovits and Woodson that individual African survivals could be uncovered in the Americas. The American sociologist Edward Franklin Frazier followed in the cautious tradition of Du Bois and became the harshest critic of Woodson and Herskovits. In his work The Negro Family in the United States, Frazier argued that “The first prerequisite in understanding the Negro, his family life, and his problems is the recognition of the basic fact that the Negro in America is a cultural…group and that his culture with all its variations is American and a product of his life in the United States.” In this work as well as in others, Frazier denied the existence of specific cultural traits that had persisted from Africa, downplayed the legitimacy of provenance labels as source material, and, as we see in this quote, stressed the central idea that African Americans derived their cultural makeup entirely from America. Accordingly, Frazier attacked what he called the “uncritical” assertions of Herskovits and Woodson. He lambasted their discussion of African cultural survivals as “untenable conjectures.” For example, when Herskovits suggested that the prevalence of Christian baptism among African Americans reflected traditions of river-cults in West Africa, Frazier denied the connection wholesale, writing “It needs simply to be stated that about a third of the rural Negroes in the United States are Methodists and only in exceptional cases practice baptism.” Similarly, when Woodson suggested that “The industry of the Negro in the United States may be partly explained as an African survival” because “The Negro is born a worker,” Frazier lambasted the claim as utterly unfounded and “absurd.”[17]

By the 1940s, the contours of the “direct transfer” and “neo-ethnicity” arguments were well formed. We see in the work of Herskovits, Woodson, and even Phillips a desire to use provenance labels as primary-source material, whether that means parroting the statements of colonial authors who used them in the early-modern era or delving into African history to uncover previously hidden meanings only suggested by the labels. Conversely, we see in the work of Du Bois and Frazier a tendency to avoid provenance labels because they distance African-Americans from their American cultural roots, downplay the transformative role of the transatlantic slave trade, and essentialize Africans in tribe-like categories. As the decades wore on, the polarized framework of the debate was reproduced over and over again. Theorists like Elkins and Patterson argued for the culturally destructive nature of the transatlantic slave trade; other prominent scholars of slavery in the Americas—from Aptheker to Genovese, John Blassingame, and Herbert Gutman—followed in the tradition of Phillips, either ignoring provenance labels when they appeared in the historical record or simply reproducing them without subsequent analysis. Scholars who wanted to center African cultures, like Roger Bastide, Sterling Stuckey, and Lawrence Levine, carried on the “survival” tradition of Herskovits and Woodson. They argued in their works that provenance labels were only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the ways historians could investigate African cultures in America. [18]

Even today, the scholarly conversation around provenance labels can be unusually polarizing. It is hard to deny that there are not modern-day Fraziers and Herskovitses living among us. Consider, for example, a recent series of exchanges that occurred between two pairs of historians: John Thornton and Trevor Burnard and Douglas Chambers and David Northrup. In a 2001 article, Burnard acknowledged that “Much ink has been spilt defending or attacking these rival positions [of direct transfer and neo-ethnicity] but the terms of the debate have remained mostly unchanged.” Taking the side of the neo-ethnicity thesis, Burnard criticized “Afro-genetic views” espoused by Thornton, who “believes that the slave trade was not especially random and randomizing.” Burnard critiqued Thornton for contending “that the cargoes of slave ships were remarkably homogenous, comprised very often of people from a single small catchment area who moved en masse from Africa to large plantations.” Although he did not fully embrace Frazier, and he accepted the legitimacy of provenance labels in theory, Burnard refused to believe they signified a transmission of African cultures to the Americas. Instead, he supported the view of Price and Mintz that “the cultural history of Afro-Caribbean and African-American slaves is of ‘mangled pasts…without regard to purity or pedigree.” In a separate incident from 2002, Chambers and Northrup also exchanged barbs in print, accusing each other of being “tribalist” and “assuming the existence of ‘tribal’ identities in an earlier period” over their respective interpretations of Igbo in the Caribbean.[19]

Finding the Middle Way:

Obviously, the conversation around African provenance labels is a highly politicized one. It is not easy to make a contribution to the discussion without falling into one of two allegiances and opening yourself up to ideological critique. Regardless, the two camps of “direct transfer” and “neo-ethnicity” are not rigid counter poles. While each one has a devoted group of adherents, there are many historians who fall somewhere in the middle, emphasizing both the persistence and the adaptation of African identities. In fact, many scholars—like Rucker in his latest book called Gold Coast Diasporas—have begun to suggest that provenance labels like Coromantee signified concrete cultural ties to specific African regions and were also fluid, flexible, evolving, and dynamic in ways that scholars have not yet recognized. As early as the 1970s, the historian Barbara Klamon Kopytoff pursued a similar line argument with the Windward maroons of Jamaica. She claimed that the maroons built an entirely new culture. Even though this culture was formed around a core that was distinctly Coromantee, it was flexible enough to incorporate Africans from diverse regions of the continent, including Angola, Benin, and even Madagascar in Southeast Africa.[20]

Now, the conversation is changing. Over the past couple of decades, a whole new cadre of scholars has risen to prominence on the basis of this middle-way between the “direct transfer” and “neo-ethnicity” theses. Foremost among them is Gwendolyn M. Hall, James Sweet, Paul Lovejoy, and Thornton himself. These scholars have countered the methodological and ideological difficulties associated with studying African ethnicity in the Americas by grounding themselves in specific case studies. In this sense, they have either anticipated or followed up on Paul Lovejoy’s call to historicize expressions of identity in place and time, “establishing the significance of specific ‘survivals’ in historical context.” Hall has looked at the meanings of Bambara in Louisiana; Sweet at Kongo in Brazil; Loveyjoy at Yoruba in Brazil; Thornton at Kongo in both Saint-Domingue and South Carolina; Sean Kelley at Mandingo in South Carolina; and the list goes on. [21]

To conclude this historiographical essay, I would like to discuss an historian’s work which I believe encapsulates the emerging middle-way mentioned above. This is a recent monograph by Sean Kelley called The Voyage of the Slave Ship Hare. In this book, Kelley gives us a microhistory of a transatlantic slaving voyage from Newport, Rhode Island, to Sierra Leone in the Upper Guinea Coast to Barbados and to Charleston, South Carolina, from 1754 to 1755. The provenance label important to this study is “Mandingo.” First, Kelley’s focus on this particular case study overcomes the tendency of scholars dealing with provenance labels to make sweeping claims about the effects of slavery, write large, on the transmission of individual African cultures. Second, the narrow focus also helps Kelley overcome the tendency of scholars to speak of provenance labels outside of their historical context. Kelley makes clear that we are not learning about what “colonists” or “Africans” thought of “Mandingos.” Rather, we are learning about how a specific cohort of people—72 Africans on the voyage and a few whites like Captain Caleb Godfrey—presented the idea of “Mandingos.” Third, Kelley resists the urge to interpret “Mandingo” as a monolithic ethnic label. Instead, he acknowledges the existence of heterogeneity within this singular category, writing that the Africans originally came from 24 separate exchanges on the African coast and that, once in Charleston, twenty six different men and women purchased at least one person from the ship.[22]

Next, Kelley does not ignore West African history or render it as a vague backdrop. Rather, he interprets the “Mandingo” captives from Sierra Leone in the context of the Futa Jallon, an Islamic theocratic state in the interior that was expanding outward and pushing non-Muslim people into the slave trade. All the while, Kelley is careful to be suggestive when he cannot make definitive claims. The captives “probably spoke Mande Language” and were “mostly likely” male, he writes. Once the Africans arrive on plantations, Kelley remains suggestive, writing that they likely encountered others with cultural backgrounds from the Senegambia area. Kelley then historicizes the label “Mandingo” as it appears in each of the plantation sources. Instead of anticipating a creole culture that will eventually emerge, Kelley focuses on the cultural milieu that these specific Mande speakers faced upon arrival. This leads Kelley to historicize “Mandingo” in three different stages. “Identity among Upper Guineans in the Carolina Low Country was developing simultaneously along three tracks,” he concludes. First, the “Mandingo” label was an ethnonym used by Mandinka speakers from Senegambia. Other Mande-speaking Africans of Upper Guinea adopted the identity and so the plantation underwent a process of “Mandingization,” where the label remained the same yet it began to adapt and incorporate other African cultural elements. Gradually, the “cooperation between Upper Guineans and people from other parts of Africa” undermined the dominant place that the Mange language and the “Mandingo” identity had in this specific community.[23]

Conclusion:

As Kelley’s work shows, historians do not have to settle for one side of the historiographical spectrum. We do not have to position ourselves as pure advocates for African homogeneity or heterogeneity, for the destruction or persistence of African culture in the face of slavery, or for the meaninglessness or determinism of provenance labels in the documentary record. We do not have to take as our mantra Moreton’s belief that provenance shaped a person’s disposition. On the contrary, there is a middle-way emerging on the basis of individual case studies and close readings of primary sources. The engraving of the “Coromantyn” person from Stedman’s narrative, and the photograph of the “Congo” person from Zealy’s collection, are sources reminding us that African provenance was important to people in the early-modern era—at least important enough to record from time to time. In the end, provenance labels might be “only a presumptive evidence,” but that does not mean that they are an evidence we should ignore. With the conviction that labels are only one source among many—and that they often tell us much more about the people using them than the people being labeled—historians can and should continue thinking about what they mean.

 Notes: 

Featured Images: The image on the left is taken from John Gabriel Stedman, Narrative, of a Five Years’ Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Suriname (London: J. Johnson & J. Edwards, 1796): opposite 87. The image on the right is taken from Brian Wallis, “Black Bodies, White Science: Louis Agassiz’s Slave Daguerreotypes,” American Art Vol. 9, No. 2 (Summer, 1995): 38-61. The original citation of the photograph is “Renty, Congo, Plantation of B.F. Taylor, Esq.” Daguerreotype taken by J.T. Zealy, Columbia, S.C., March 1850. Peabody Museum, Harvard University. Renty is the name of the man in the picture.

[1] One of the most foundational studies on African ethnic labels in the colonial Americas is Michael Mullin. Africa in America: Slave Acculturation and Resistance in the American South and the British Caribbean, 1736-1831 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992). Mullin offers an introduction to many topics related to African provenance labels, such as which labels were popular in which American colonies, what those labels meant both denotatively and connotatively, and how European authors generally went about applying these labels to African peoples. A few other major book-length studies that take provenance labels as a primary and general category of analysis are Michael A. Gomez, Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998) and Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, Slavery and African Ethnicities in the Americas: Restoring the Links (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005). For an overview of the literature on provenance labels in the greater Atlantic World, see Paul Lovejoy and David Vincent Trotman (eds.), Trans-Atlantic Dimensions of Ethnicity in the African Diaspora (London: Continuum, 2003).

[2] Michael Mullin. Africa in America, 281.

[3] For examples of the approaches to African provenance mentioned in this paragraph, see Michael A. Gomez, Exchanging Our Country Marks; Randy J. Sparks, Where the Negroes Are Masters: An African Port in the Era of the Slave Trade (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014); Eugene Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made (New York: Vintage Books, 1976); Walter Johnson, River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013), 6; Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001).

[4] Sean M. Kelley, The Voyage of the Slave Ship Hare: A Journey into Captivity from Sierra Leone to South Carolina (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

[5] Michael Mullin. Africa in America, 290; ; Edward Long, The History of Jamaica; or, A general survey of the antient and modern state of that island: with reflexions on its situation, settlements, inhabitants, climate, products, commerce, laws, and Government, Volume II (London: T. Lowndes, 1774), 444-475; Walter Rucker, Gold Coast Diasporas: Identity, Culture, and Power (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015), 115. John Thornton, “African Dimensions of the Stono Rebellion,” The American Historical Review Vol. 96, No. 4 (Oct. 1991): 1101-1113.

[6] Bryan Edwards, The History, Civil and Commercial, of the British West Indies in The West Indies. 2 Volumes (Dublin: Luke White, 1793), 152-153; Michael Mullin, Africa in America, 28; Anonymous, Practical Rules for the Management and Medical Treatment of Negro Slaves, 1803, 39-41;

[7]Audra Diptee, From Africa to Jamaica: The Making of an Atlantic Slave Society, 1775-1807 (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2010), 61-62; Jessica A. Krug, “Social Dismemberment: Social (Re)membering: Obeah Idioms, Kromanti Identities and the Trans-Atlantic Politics of Memory, c. 1675-Present,” Slavery and Abolition Vol. 35, No. 4 (2014): 537-558 541, 555. Aphra Behn, Oroonoko; or, the Royal Slave (London: Will Canning, 1688). Behn based this work on prior experiences that she had in Suriname in the 1660s. Kwasi Konadu is the only scholar I have come across who ventures a guess as to the etymological meaning of the word for these ports, Kormantse. He writes, “Perhaps ‘Kormantin’ derives from ‘korcmante,’ a contracted form of mekorcc no nanso mante (‘I went, but I did not hear [about the ruler’s death]), which is oath (ntam)—a sacred statement that should not be uttered because it conjures up negative memories.” Kwasi Konadu, The Akan Diaspora in the Americas (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 60-61.

[8] D.B. Chambers, “Ethnicity in the Diaspora: The Slave-Trade and the Creation of African ‘Nations’ in the Americas,” Slavery & Abolition 22, 3 (2001): 31-32; for the quote “grateful and obedient to a kind master,” see Christopher Codrington to the Lords of Trade and Plantations, December 30, 1701, CSPCAWL, v. (11) 1700-1701, 1, 132. CO 15214, 35. Qtd. in Michael Craton, Testing the Chains: Resistance to Slavery in the British West Indies (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1982), 25; David Northrup, “Igbo and Myth Igbo: Culture and Ethnicity in the Atlantic World, 1600-1850.” Slavery and Abolition 21 (2000): 1.

[9] Simon P. Newman, Michael L. Deason, Yannis P. Pitsiladis, Antonio Salas, and Vincent A. Macaulay, “The West African Ethnicity of the Enslaved in Jamaica,” Slavery & Abolition Vol. 34, No. 3 (2013): 376-400. Greg E. O’Malley, Final Passages: The Intercolonial Slave Trade of British America, 1619-1807 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014), 20-21; David Eltis and Martin Halbert, Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database. 2009. See www.slavevoyages.org.

[10] See the following two widely cited articles by John Thornton: “The Coromantees: An African Cultural Group in Colonial North America and the Caribbean,” Journal of Caribbean History, 32 (1998): 161-178; “War, the State, and Religious Norms in “Coromantee” Thought: the Ideology of an African American Nation,” in Possible Pasts: Becoming Colonial in Early America, 181-200, edited by Robert Blair St. George (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000), 188; Kwasi Konadu, The Akan Diaspora in the Americas, 17. See also Walter Rucker’s critique of Konadu’s approach in his Gold Coast Diasporas, 12-13, as well as in his review of Rebecca Shumway’s The Fante and the Transatlatlantic Slave Trade: Walter Rucker, “Beyond Ashanti,” Journal of African History 53, 3 (2012); The pre-colonial Africanist scholar Kristin Mann has called these two camps the Africanist and the creolist camp. See Kristin Mann, “Shifting Paradigms in the Study of the African Diaspora and of Atlantic History and Culture,” Slavery & Abolition, 22:1 (2001): 3-21; another popular and much critiqued work in this “direct transfer” group is that of Michael Gomez, Exchanging Our Country Marks; for more on the idea of the Coromantee “ethnic slave rebellions,” see two pieces that were written by Monica Schuler, “Akan Slave Rebellions in the British Caribbean,” Savacoiu, I (1970): 8-31, reprinted in Hilary Beckles and Verene Shepherd, eds., Caribbean Slave Society and Economy: A Student Reader (New York, 1991): 373-86; “Ethnic Slave Rebellions in the Caribbean and the Guianas,” Journal of Social History, Vol. 3, No. 4 (Summer, 1970): 374-385.

[11] Richard Price, “The Concept of Creolization,” in The Cambridge World History of Slavery, ed. David Eltis and Stanley L. Engerman (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 513-537; Vincent Brown, The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008), 28. Also referenced in this paragraph are Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982), 39; and Stanley Elkins, Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1959), 249; the idea of African “survivals” was made popular by the anthropologist Melville Herskovits, Myth of the Negro Past (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1941). Sidney W. Mintz and Richard Price, The Birth of African-American Culture: An Anthropological Perspective (New York: Beacon Press, 1976), 1, 16-17, 19. For other well-known scholars who have subscribed to the “neo-ethnicity thesis,” see the work of Edward Kamau Braithwaite, The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica, 1770-1820 (London: Oxford University Press, 1971); and Philip Morgan, “The Cultural Implications of the Atlantic Slave Trade,” Slavery & Abolition Vol. 18, No. 1 (1997): 122-145.

[12] W.E.B. Du Bois, The Negro American Family (Atlanta: Atlanta University Publications, 1908),  21.

[13] Ulrich B. Phillips, American Negro Slavery: A Survey of the Supply, Employment, and Control of Negro Labor as Determined by the Plantation Regime (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1918), 42-43.

[14] Ibid. 291. Walter Johnson, River of Dark Dreams and Soul by Soul. Herbert Aptheker, American Negro Slave Revolts (New York: Columbia University Press, 1943).

[15] Melville J. Herskovits, The Myth of the Negro Past, 14, 80, 35-36; Carter G. Woodson, The African Background Outlined or Handbook for the Study of the Negro (Washington D.C.: The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History Inc., 1936), 172-173, 433.

[16] Herskovits, The Myth of the Negro Past, 50-51.

[17] Edward Franklin Frazier, The Negro Family in the United States (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1939), li, 9-10, 436.

[18] Aptheker, American Negro Slave Revolts; Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll; John Blassingame, The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978); Herbert Gutman, The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925 (New York: Random House, 1976); Roger Bastide, African Civilization in the New World (New York: Harper & Row, 1971) and The African Religions of Brazil: Toward a Sociology of the Interpretation of Civilizations (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1978). Originally published in 1960 in French by Presses Universitaires de France. Sterling Stuckey, Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987); Lawrence Levine, Black Culture and Black Consciousness: Afro-American Folk Thought from Slavery to Freedom (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[19] Trevor Burnard, “E Pluribus Plures: African Ethnicities in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Jamaica,” The Jamaican Historical Review 21 (2001): 8-9, 15. Burnard also makes the same argument in his work Mastery, Tyranny, & Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and his Slaves in the Anglo Jamaican World (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 142-143; David Northrup, “Igbo and Myth Igbo: Culture and Ethnicity in the Atlantic World, 1600-1850,” Slavery and Abolition 21 (2000): 6, 18; Douglas Chambers, “The Siginificance of Igbo in the Bight of Biafra Slave-Trade: A Rejoinder to Northrup’s Myth Igbo,” Slavery & Abolition 23 (April 2003): 102.

[20] Walter Rucker, Gold Coast Diasporas, 30, 121, 124; Barbara Klamon Kopytoff, “The Development of Jamaican Maroon Ethnicity,” Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 22, No. 2/3 (June – September, 1976): 33-50.

[21] Paul E. Lovejoy, “The African Diaspora: Revisionist Interpretations of Ethnicity, Culture and Religion under Slavery,” Studies in the World History of Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation, II, 1 (1997): 5; Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, Africans in Colonial Louisiana: The Development of an Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1992); James Sweet, Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441-1770 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003); John Thornton, “African Dimensions of the Stono Rebellion,” The American Historical Review Vol. 96, No. 4 (Oct. 1991): 1101-1113; “‘I Am the Subject of the King of Congo:” African Political Ideology and the Haitian Revolution,’ Journal of World History Vol. 4 (1993): 181-214; Sean M. Kelley, The Voyage of the Slave Ship Hare: A Journey into Captivity from Sierra Leone to South Carolina (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

[22] Sean M. Kelley, The Voyage of the Slave Ship Hare, 1, 102, 142.

[23] Ibid. 102, 169-173, 245.

[1] J.B. Moreton, West India customs and manners (London: J. Parsons, 1793): 145.

[2] Anonymous, Practical Rules for the Management and Medical Treatment of Negro Slaves (London: J. Barfield, 1803) 82-83.

Bibliography:

Anonymous. Practical Rules for the Management and Medical Treatment of Negro Slaves. London: J. Barfield, 1803.

Aptheker, Herbert. American Negro Slave Revolts. New York: Columbia University Press, 1943.

Bastide, Roger. African Civilization in the New World. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.

—. The African Religions of Brazil: Toward a Sociology of the Interpretation of Civilizations. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1978.

Behn, Aphra. Oroonoko; or, the Royal Slave. London: Will Canning, 1688.

Blassingame, John The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978.

Braithwaite, Edward Kamau. The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica, 1770-1820. London: Oxford University Press, 1971.

Brown, Vincent. The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008.

Burnard, Trevor. “E Pluribus Plures: African Ethnicities in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Jamaica,” The Jamaican Historical Review 21 (2001): 8-22.

Chambers, Douglas B. “Ethnicity in the Diaspora: The Slave-Trade and the Creation of African ‘Nations’ in the Americas,” Slavery and Abolition Vol. 22, no. 3 (December 2001): 25-39.

—. “The Significance of Igbo in the Bight of Biafra Slave-Trade: A Rejoinder to Northrup’s Myth Igbo,” Slavery & Abolition 23 (April 2002): 101-120.

Codrington, Christopher. Letter to the Lords of Trade and Plantations, December 30, 1701, CSPCAWL, v. (11) 1700-1701, 1, 132. CO 15214, 35.

Craton, Michael. Testing the Chains: Resistance to Slavery in the British West Indies. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1982.

Diptee, Audra. From Africa to Jamaica: The Making of an Atlantic Slave Society, 1775-1807. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2010.

Du Bois, W.E.B. The Negro American Family. Atlanta: Atlanta University Publications, 1908.

Edwards, Bryan. The History, Civil and Commercial, of the British West Indies in The West Indies. 2 Volumes. Dublin: Luke White, 1793.

Elkins, Stanley. Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1959.

Eltis, David and Martin Halbert. Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database. 2009. See www.slavevoyages.org.

Frazier, Edward Franklin. The Negro Family in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1939.

Genovese, Eugene. Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made. New York: Vintage Books, 1976.

Gomez, Michael A. Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1998.

Gutman, Herbert. The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925. New York: Random House, 1976.

Hall, Gwendolyn Midlo. Slavery and African Ethnicities in the Americas: Restoring the Links. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005.

—. Africans in Colonial Louisiana: The Development of an Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1992.

Herskovits, Melville J. The Myth of the Negro Past. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1941.

Johnson, Walter. River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013.

—. Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001.

Kelley, Sean M. The Voyage of the Slave Ship Hare: A Journey into Captivity from Sierra Leone to South Carolina. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2016.

Konadu, Kwasi. The Akan Diaspora in the Americas. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Kopytoff, Barbara Klamon. “The Development of Jamaican Maroon Ethnicity,” Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 22, No. 2/3 (June – September, 1976): 33-50.

Krug, Jessica A. “Social Dismemberment, Social (Re)membering: Obeah Idioms, Kromanti Identities and the Trans-Atlantic Politics of Memory, c. 1675-Present,” Slavery and Abolition Vol. 35, No. 4 (2014): 537-558.

Levine, Lawrence. Black Culture and Black Consciousness: Afro-American Folk Thought from Slavery to Freedom. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.

Long, Edward. The History of Jamaica; or, A general survey of the antient and modern state of that island: with reflexions on its situation, settlements, inhabitants, climate, products, commerce, laws, and Government, Volume II. London: T. Lowndes, 1774.

Lovejoy, Paul. “The African Diaspora: Revisionist Interpretations of Ethnicity, Culture, and Religion under Slavery.” Studies in the World History of Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation 2 (1997): 1-23.

Lovejoy, Paul and David Vincent Trotman (eds.). Trans-Atlantic Dimensions of Ethnicity in the African Diaspora. London: Continuum, 2003.

Mann, Kristin. “Shifting Paradigms in the Study of the African Diaspora and of Atlantic History and Culture,” Slavery & Abolition, 22:1 (2001): 3-21.

Mintz, Sidney W. and Richard Price, The Birth of African-American Culture: An Anthropological Perspective. New York: Beacon Press, 1976.

Moreton, J.B. West India customs and manners. London: J. Parsons, 1793.

Morgan, Philip. “The Cultural Implications of the Atlantic Slave Trade,” Slavery & Abolition Vol. 18, No. 1 (1997): 122-145.

Mullin, Michael. Africa in America: Slave Acculturation and Resistance in the American South and the British Caribbean, 1736-1831. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992.

Newman, Simon P., Michael L. Deason, Yannis P. Pitsiladis, Antonio Salas, and Vincent A. Macaulay, “The West African Ethnicity of the Enslaved in Jamaica,” Slavery & Abolition Vol. 34, No. 3 (2013): 376-400.

Northrup, David. “Igbo and Myth Igbo: Culture and Ethnicity in the Atlantic World, 1600-1850,” Slavery and Abolition 21 (2000): 1-20.

O’Malley, Greg E. Final Passages: The Intercolonial Slave Trade of British America, 1619-1807. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2014.

Patterson, Orlando. Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982.

Phillips, Ulrich B. American Negro Slavery: A Survey of the Supply, Employment, and Control of Negro Labor as Determined by the Plantation Regime. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1918.

Price, Richard. “The Concept of Creolization,” in The Cambridge World History of Slavery, 513-537, eds. David Eltis and Stanley L. Engerman,. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Rucker, Walter. Gold Coast Diasporas: Identity, Culture, and Power. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015.

Schuler, Monica. “Akan Slave Rebellions in the British Caribbean,” Savacoiu, I (1970): 8-31.

—. “Ethnic Slave Rebellions in the Caribbean and the Guianas,” Journal of Social History, Vol. 3, No. 4 (Summer, 1970): 374-385.

Sparks, Randy J. Where the Negroes Are Masters: An African Port in the Era of the Slave Trade. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014.

Stedman, John Gabriel. Narrative, of a Five Years’ Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Suriname. London: J. Johnson & J. Edwards, 1796.

Stuckey, Sterling. Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

Sweet, James. Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441-1770. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003.

Thornton, John. “African Dimensions of the Stono Rebellion,” The American Historical Review Vol. 96, No. 4 (Oct. 1991): 1101-1113.

—. “‘I Am the Subject of the King of Congo:” African Political Ideology and the Haitian Revolution,’ Journal of World History Vol. 4 (1993): 181-214.

—. “The Coromantees: An African Cultural Group in Colonial North America and the Caribbean,” Journal of Caribbean History, 32 (1998): 161-178.

—.  “War, the State, and Religious Norms in “Coromantee” Thought: the Ideology of an African American Nation,” in Possible Pasts: Becoming Colonial in Early America, 181-200, edited by Robert Blair St. George. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000.

Wallis, Brian. “Black Bodies, White Science: Louis Agassiz’s Slave Daguerreotypes,” American Art Vol. 9, No. 2 (Summer, 1995): 38-61.

Woodson, Carter G. The African Background Outlined or Handbook for the Study of the Negro. Washington D.C.: The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History Inc., 1936.