Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Julie Richter

Committee Members

Susan Kern

Charles McGovern


Though it remains shrouded in ambiguity, mountain slavery in Grayson County, like many other regions in the Appalachian South, represents a unique outgrowth of the traditional slave society in the southern United States—a binary of what Ira Berlin classifies as a slave society and a society with slaves. Largely shaped by its rough geographic terrain, the steady growth of slavery in Grayson developed this dual society more closely with that of its western North Carolinian neighbor, Ashe County, than that of its neighbor to the northeast, Wythe County, Virginia. Though slavery did not shape the county's formative years as drastically as in Virginia's eastern regions, its continued presence throughout the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries played a central role in Grayson's social hierarchy and the eventual participation of its residents in the Civil War. Furthermore, the repercussions of regional slavery and the actions of Grayson's initial residents' descendants forged a legacy of black subservience that would contribute to the fervent support of 'benevolent' segregation during the mid-twentieth century as well as an insular form of racism.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only