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"Myne Owne Ground"

Race and Freedom on Virginia's Eastern Shore, 1640-1676

25th Anniversary Edition

T. H. Breen and Stephen Innes

Publication Date - September 2004

ISBN: 9780195175370

176 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $49.99

First printed twenty-five years ago, this book has challenged readers to rethink much of what is taken for granted about American race relations.


Ever since its publication twenty-five years ago, "Myne Owne Ground" has challenged readers to rethink much of what is taken for granted about American race relations.
During the earliest decades of Virginia history, some men and women who arrived in the New World as slaves achieved freedom and formed a stable community on the Eastern shore. Holding their own with white neighbors for much of the 17th century, these free blacks purchased freedom for family members, amassed property, established plantations, and acquired laborers. T.H. Breen and Stephen Innes reconstruct a community in which ownership of property was as significant as skin color in structuring social relations. Why this model of social interaction in race relations did not survive makes this a critical and urgent work of history.
In a new foreword, Breen and Innes reflect on the origins of this book, setting it into the context of Atlantic and particularly African history.

Previous Publication Date(s)

September 1982


"This fascinating account proves that for a couple of generations in seventeenth-century Virginia the two races lived fairly comfortably side by side....It is an extraordinary and convincing story."--The New York Review of Books

"[Breen and Innes] have pieced together sufficient details relating to the lives of some of these blacks to establish firstly that skin colour was not originally an absolute impediment to social advancement, and secondly that the white immigrant population on Virginia's eastern shore were not averse to accepting as social equals blacks who had recently purchased their freedom from slavery."--The Historical Journal

"A thorough exploitation of available sources coupled with a sophisticated understanding of the difficult issues confronting those trying to unravel the complexities of early American race relations....[Breen and Innes] have reminded us of forgotten alternatives in this society's racial odyssey."--The Journal of Southern History

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