Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Robert A Gross
"Breaking with Tradition" is a study of slave literacy in eighteenth-century British North America, the era of the First Great Awakening and the American Revolution. Instead of highlighting the work of a few northern slave authors (the present emphasis in African American literary history), it focuses on the relationship between slave education in colonial Virginia and the social and political circumstances in which slaves acquired a knowledge of letters. A social history of life in the slave quarters, the "great house," and in towns, "Breaking with Tradition" is at once a case study of slaves reading and writing in the South and a counterpoint to current studies that paint a picture of early African Americans as being illiterate. Ultimately, this thesis explores the interplay between African American studies and the History of the Book.
© The Author
Bly, Antonio T., "Breaking with tradition: Slave literacy in early Virginia, 1680--1780" (2006). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. William & Mary. Paper 1539623496.