Edenton, 1852: Conduct ‘unbecoming’ a slave

“In December 1852, William Pettigrew reported to a slaveholding correspondent, the town of Edenton, North Carolina, was still full of talk about a rebellion said to have been planned by Josiah Collins’s slaves in October.

“Those  implicated had been sold to a trader and gathered into a coffle [that is, a line of slaves chained together] when they broke out into song. ‘The town has been much shocked,’ Pettigrew wrote, ‘at the unbecoming manner in which Mr. C’s Negroes…. conducted themselves… [Those slaves not in the coffle] spent their time singing and dancing until Hempton the landlord threatened to confine them in the dungeon….

” ‘One of their favorite songs was “James Crack Corn I Don’t Care.” Their  object was said to [be to]  set their master at defiance, and to show their willingness to leave him…. The good people of the place were rejoiced when they left, feeling apprehension of the insubordinate influences such conduct might have on their [own] Negroes.’ ”

— From “Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market” (1999) by Walter Johnson

Holiday link dump: Anarchists to preservationists

— The Asheville Citizen-Times offers a nicely done page of local historical photos. A 1943 shot raises the question: Might there also have been a Colored Transportation Co., or was that purpose adequately served by the back of the White Transportation bus?

— Also in the Citizen-Times: lots and lots of coverage of May Day vandalism. And here an anarchist calls for “Solidarity with the accused!”

— Preservationists set their sights on Edenton’s grand but neglected Pembroke Hall, circa 1850.

— Lincoln County Historical Association impatiently  bypasses state historical marker process to honor former Air Force chief of staff.

— Does Penderlea, the Pender County farm community created under the New Deal,  belong on the National Register of Historic Places?

— Archives and History publishes 25th anniversary update of  “Native Carolinians: The Indians of North Carolina.”

— High school teacher researches  “a non-fiction memoir of the 33 mills that were once in Richmond County and the people they affected.”

— The Woolworth’s lunch counter at the National Museum of American History is the setting for a half-hour play, in which an activist of the time briefs potential recruits in nonviolent resistance. (Scroll down.)