Catalogue


Murder at Montpelier : Igbo Africans in Virginia /
Douglas B. Chambers.
imprint
Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, c2005.
description
x, 325 p. : maps ; 24 cm.
ISBN
1578067065 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, c2005.
isbn
1578067065 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
5488376
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 295-317) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Douglas B. Chambers is a professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Excerpts
Flap Copy
The story of the poisoning of President James Madison's grandfather and the solidarity of a slave community's traditions
Flap Copy
The story of the poisoning of President James MadisonÂ's grandfather and the solidarity of a slave communityÂ's traditions
Flap Copy
The story of the poisoning of President James Madison’s grandfather and the solidarity of a slave community’s traditions
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2006-02-01:
From the 1720s to the 1850s, slaves owned by the Madison family formed a community centered on Montpelier plantation. Chambers (Univ. of Southern Mississippi) argues that they were primarily Igbo people from the Bight of Biafra, and seeks to show how Igbo influences shaped both the Madison slaves and Afro-Virginian culture in general. The 1732 poisoning of Ambrose Madison, James's grandfather, by his slaves is just one of many pieces of evidence of the preservation of Igbo customs and identity. The book begins with a well-documented portrait of Igbo political, cultural, and social life in 17th- and 18th-century Africa, and then shows the prominence of Igbo captives in the slave trade to Virginia. Concluding chapters provide a surprisingly dense web of evidence for the continuing significance of Igbo foodways, craftwork, naming practices, and religion among Afro-Virginians for several generations after the mid-18th-century peak in slave imports. Chambers thus challenges the view that African American cultures sprang from the homogenizing of disparate African groups in the US, as well as the notion that enslaved people in the Chesapeake retained relatively little of Africa in their cultural makeup. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers and up. T. S. Whitman Mount St. Mary's University
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2006
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Summaries
Main Description
In 1732 Ambrose Madison, grandfather of the future president, languished for weeks in a sickbed then died. The death, soon after his arrival on the plantation, bore hallmarks of what planters assumed to be traditional African medicine. African slaves were suspected of poisoning their master.
Main Description
In 1732 Ambrose Madison, grandfather of the future president, languished for weeks in a sickbed then died. The death, soon after his arrival on the plantation, bore hallmarks of what planters assumed to be traditional African medicine. African slaves were suspected of poisoning their master. For Montpelier, his estate, and for Virginia, this was a watershed moment. Murder at Montpelier: Igbo Africans in Virginia examines the consequences of Madison's death and the ways in which this event shaped both white slaveholding society and the surrounding slave culture. At Montpelier, now owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and open to the public, Igbo slaves under the directions of white overseers had been felling trees, clearing land, and planting tobacco and other crops for five years before Madison arrived. This deadly initial encounter between American colonial master and African slave community irrevocably changed both whites and blacks. This book explores the many broader meanings of this suspected murder and its aftermath. It weaves together a series of transformations that followed, such as the negotiation of master-slave relations, the transformation of Igbo culture in the New World, and the social memory of a particular slave community. For the first time, the book presents the larger history of the slave community at James Madison's Montpelier-over the five generations from the 1720s through the 1850s and beyond. Murder at Montpelier: Igbo Africans in Virginiarevises many assumptions about how Africans survived enslavement, the middle passage, and grueling labor as chattel in North America. The importance of Igbo among the colonial slave population makes this work a controversial reappraisal of how Africans made themselves "African Americans" in Virginia. Douglas B. Chambers is a professor in the history department at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Main Description
In 1732 Ambrose Madison, grandfather of the future president, languished for weeks in a sickbed then died. The death, soon after his arrival on the plantation, bore hallmarks of what planters assumed to be traditional African medicine. African slaves were suspected of poisoning their master.For Montpelier, his estate, and for Virginia, this was a watershed moment. Murder at Montpelier: Igbo Africans in Virginia examines the consequences of Madison's death and the ways in which this event shaped both white slaveholding society and the surrounding slave culture.At Montpelier, now owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and open to the public, Igbo slaves under the directions of white overseers had been felling trees, clearing land, and planting tobacco and other crops for five years before Madison arrived. This deadly initial encounter between American colonial master and African slave community irrevocably changed both whites and blacks.This book explores the many broader meanings of this suspected murder and its aftermath. It weaves together a series of transformations that followed, such as the negotiation of master-slave relations, the transformation of Igbo culture in the New World, and the social memory of a particular slave community. For the first time, the book presents the larger history of the slave community at James Madison's Montpelier-over the five generations from the 1720s through the 1850s and beyond.Murder at Montpelier: Igbo Africans in Virginiarevises many assumptions about how Africans survived enslavement, the middle passage, and grueling labor as chattel in North America. The importance of Igbo among the colonial slave population makes this work a controversial reappraisal of how Africans made themselves "African Americans" in Virginia.Douglas B. Chambers is a professor in the history department at the University of Southern Mississippi.

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