African American Males In The 18th Century

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Slave traders and plantation owners had a crucial interest in representing the black as fit for no other fate. And they claimed a special knowledge of blacks. Edward Long, the son of a Jamaican planter, was typical. He was convinced that ‘the lower class of women in England . . . are remarkably fond of the blacks’ and worried that ‘in the course of a few generations more, the English blood will become so contaminated . . . till the whole nation resembles the Portuguese and Moviscoes in complexion of skin and baseness of mind’. These passages capture the combination of the anxieties posed by class, gender, and race for upper-class males in the 18th century. Long also believed that blacks were a separate species.

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