The Garden Nexus: Reciprocity, Redistribution, and Exchange in the Nineteenth-Century American Lowcountry


ACLS HBCU Faculty Fellowships


Social Sciences


"The Garden Nexus" grew out of the gendered nature of Atlantic World marketplaces, where African and European cultures, customs, and common laws came together in port cities of the nineteenth-century American Lowcountry. It needed three things to function: the reciprocity of slave badges which allowed skilled enslaved workers to make their own contracts and live apart from their masters; slave-holding women who redistributed unfree labor through a hiring out system; and the exchange relationships between market women and plantation workers for fresh produce. The ways women and men participated in the spaces between plantations and urban markets tied them more to the Caribbean and Africa, rather than to the rest of the United States. "The Garden Nexus" is a new methodology for understanding American slavery.