Summary and Info
In the Hands of Strangers is a collection of documents by writers and witnesses from the past, both black and white, that offer perspectives on the trade and movement of slaves. Many documents elucidate the long-standing discord between North and South over the issue of slavery. In the Hands of Strangers is divided into three parts. Part one focuses on the African slave trade that brought as many as 600,000 Africans into the United States. Part two concentrates on the internal U.S. slave trade. Documents cover a variety of topics including the forced transport of slaves throughout East Coast and Gulf Coast states, buying and selling of slaves, increasingly contentious debates over the legitimacy of slavery, and effects of the break up of families. Part Three focuses on a series of conflicts and crises leading to the Civil War. Included in this section are documents on Texas and the expansion of slavery into that region, efforts on the part of southern extremists before the Civil War to renew the African slave trade, the exodus of slaves early in the Civil War when federal troops entered the South, and debates over colonization. This collection concludes with a brilliant essay by Frederick Douglass that asks the question: "What shall be done with the Negro?" The volume is aimed at scholars, students, and general readers.
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