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96Southern Cultures less self-sufficient, and, Braund says, the "abandonment of traditional training in native crafts and manufacturing fractured the bond" between parents and children, leading to a large and troublesome generation gap. The British triumph over the French and Spanish in 1763 removed those powers from the region and eliminated the competition that had kept down the price of English goods. European fashion turned away from deerskins, new and less experienced traders entered the region, and the Revolutionary War brought severe disruption to lines of commerce. Meanwhile, the deer population declined drastically, while the Creeks' own population gradually grew larger and more needy. To offset mounting debt and the loss of profits from land that was being steadily usurped without payment, the Indians sold off valuable hunting grounds to encroaching whites. The New Purchase of 1773, for example, helped Creeks and Cherokees erase huge debts but cost them 2.5 million acres and fostered bitter divisions. As a result of all these forces, Braund explains, "more Creeks were searching for fewer deer on less land to satisfy greater demands for European goods on which they had become totally dependent." This story of traditional self-sufficiency giving way to dependency on European and American manufactured goods and consumer items was one that would be repeated again and again throughout the Atlantic world. Braund explains the Creeks' spiral toward dependency without making them into careless, ignorant, or tragic victims. They emerge instead as a loose but powerful confederacy of waniors, traders, and consumers, occupying a central position, both geographically and economically, in the eighteenth-century South. Readers will be impressed by Braund's multiple perspectives, telling quotations, and clear exposition. And Verner Crane would be proud indeed. Africans in Colonial Louisiana: The Development of Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century. By Gwendolyn Midlo Hall. Louisiana State University Press, 1992. 434 pp. Cloth, $29.95. Reviewed by Clarence E. Walker, professor ofhistory at the University of California, Davis. His most recent book is Deromanticizing Black History: Critical Essays and Reappraisals from the University ofTennessee Press. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall has written an impressive and wide-ranging book based on research in archives in Africa, America, and Europe. Africans in Colonial Louisiana is a major contribution to the history of black Americans and the study of slavery in the Americas. This book, like Michael Mullins's two studies, Flight and Rebellion and Africa in America, along with Orlando Patterson's Sociology ofSlavery and Peter Wood's Black Majority , broadens our understanding of how Africans became Afro-Caribbeans and Afro-Americans in the eighteenth century. Africans in Colonial Louisiana is divided into two parts. The first eight chapters focus on French Louisiana, and the last three deal with the colony under Spanish rule. Organizing her work in this way allows Hall to compare and contrast French and Spanish interaction with Africans in the New World. In her preface, Hall makes an important point about culture: it is a process, not a static phenomenon. "In the Americas," Hall writes, "new cultures were formed through Reviews97 intense, and often violent, contacts among peoples of varied nations, races, classes, languages , and traditions. The Europeans in this equation were far from omnipotent. It is wrong to assume that there was an all-powerful, static national culture and society brought over by the European colonizers into which non-Europeans were more or less socialized and acculturated." This key point is often forgotten in the current debates in black America about Afrocentrism. Africans and Europeans in North America met on what Richard White has recently called, writing in a different context, a "middle ground." Louisiana was such a place, where French and Spanish hegemony was contested by Africans and Native Americans . The Africans that Hall examines in her book are not the culturally broken people discussed in Stanley Elkins's Slavery. Breaking with earlier work on slavery in North America, Hall argues that the slaves brought to Louisiana were not deracinated. "The Louisiana experience," she writes, "calls into question the assumption that African slaves could not regroup themselves in language and social communities derived partly from the sending communities. This study focuses to some extent on the changing patterns of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 96-98
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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