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BOOK REVIEWS367 the voting record of his subjects. However, Vincent rarely even mentions the number of votes cast for and against various pieces of legislation, much less makes an attempt at identifying patterns of voting by blacks and whites, free blacks and freedmen, and various other legislative groupings, which may have provided insights into the political culture of Reconstruction Louisiana. Lacking the analytical tools to analyze the voting patterns of black legislators, Vincent tends to treat these individuals as a unified group when in fact he presents a significant body of impressionistic evidence that suggests otherwise. In sum, Black Legislators in Louisiana provides a detailed, factual account of the work of black state legislators in this most interesting of states. Yet to be produced, however, is an adequate analysis of the Byzantine political manueverings which marked, and marred, the record of Republicans, both black and white, in Louisiana during the era of Reconstruction. William Messner Keystone College The Phntation School. By Anthony Gerald Albanese. (New York, Washington, Atlanta, Hollywood: Vantage Press, 1976. Pp. 285. $6.95.) "The purpose of the plantation school was singular: to insure the dominance of the ruling class in an economic system which was dependent on slave labor," writes Professor Anthony G. Albanese. It did this in two ways: first, it equipped the slave with just enough knowledge to perform elemental functions of an agrarian society's laboring class; and secondly, it encouraged slaves to incorporate within themselves the prevailing ideology of their deprived status. In this respect, "the plantation school was a success." These are some of the findings of The Phntation School, a book that examines the plantation's role as an educative agency for whites and slaves of the Sea Islands of Georgia and South Carolina from 1800 until 1861. The book is organized into four chapters with a short introduction and conclusion. Chapter I, "Phillips and the Plantation School," is subdivided into sections on Phillips, Stampp and Elkins . Regrettably, there are no comments on Blassingame's Slave Community, Genovese's Roll, Jordan Roll, nor the work of the Cliometricians. U. B. Phillips offers the most suggestive insights, according to Albanese, but fails to adequately explore the topic because of his white supremacist views. Stampp's Peculiar Institution and others recognized Phillips' underlying racism but were 368CIVIL WAR HISTORY unable to revise the " 'classic' portrayal of the paternal planter presiding over his carefree, submissive and irresponsible slaves." Elkins' controversial book Shvery offers an explanation for the "Sambo" personality stereotype of the slave by tracing it to the "infantilizing tendencies of absolute power" of the masters over the slaves. "Crosscurrent of Thoughts" is the title of Chapter II, which includes a section on the Abolitionist View, and the pro-plantation views of the "Pro-Slavery Argument." "A School for the Masters," "A School for Slaves," and "The Port Royal Experiment" are the titles for Chapters III, IV and V respectively. Albanese's analysis of the impact of the plantation school on the slaves and the masters are his most interesting sections. One of the most deplorable effects of the plantation system "was that it prevented the education of the masses" (p. 99). Illiteracy was widespread. The plantation and its environment made the planters more authoritarian and violent, with only the wealthy receiving limited education. A lack of appreciation for scholarship characterized the entire system. The oppressive laws of both South Carolina and Georgia prohibited slaves from being educated. Moreover, the author maintains that the "plantation school cultivated the dependent character of the blacks primarily through three agencies: the overseers, the slave family, and religious training." The overseers, whose role approximated that of an educational administrator, "was the personification of the white man's authority over the slave and how he used the authority determined the relationship between the two" (p. 147). The analysis of the slave family is weak. Unfortunately, the author is probably correct in asserting that most masters viewed the slave family with indifference. But his comment that "widespread " promiscuity existed among the slaves is not adequately documented. He further states that the black father had "no social significance" and then reports, again with scant documentation, that there were "repeated stories" of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 367-369
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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