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steam boats 1863

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Old 06-29-2006, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Memphis, TN
Posts: 24

I respectfully disagree with the contention that slaves worked from time to time on steamboats. The best and most careful study estimates that up to 20,000 African Americans worked on steamboats during the 1850s. The travel accounts, diaries, court cases, newspaper stories and the like are peppered with references to slaves and free blacks working on steamboats.

I suspect that older accounts like Hunter (which is still the best steamboat book available) overlooked slave labor because the study of slavery did not emerge as important until the 1960s.

Robert Gudmestad
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