Creole Transformation from Slavery to Freedom:
Historical Archaeology of the East End Community, St. John, Virgin Is

Douglas V. Armstrong

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"With the first study to address the development of a free, mixed-race Caribbean community using historical and archaeological evidence, Armstrong has provided a new direction for research and challenged accepted notions of Caribbean family structure. . . . An important contribution for scholars of the African Diaspora."--Paul Farnsworth, Louisiana State University

"Armstrong’s analysis of the East End Creole community broadens Afro-Caribbean archaeological investigations beyond the realm of plantation studies. It provides insights and understanding to an aspect of Afro-Caribbean culture that has received little previous attention."--Gerald F. Schroedl, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Expanding our perspective on the diversity and consequences of the African Diaspora, Douglas Armstrong explores life in the Virgin Islands for a distinctive black community that gained its freedom from slavery more than 40 years prior to emancipation in 1848.

The isolated rural settlement on the far east end of the island of St. John developed within the colonial setting and included primarily, but not exclusively, people of color. Armstrong examines its transformation from a group of small cotton and provisioning estates to community-held and family-owned parcels, and he traces spatial and economic shifts over a period of more than 150 years. The author discusses the region’s geography and history and also addresses topics such as maritime trade and exchange, gender roles, and community interrelationships. Utilizing information from extensive archaeological excavations at selected households, Armstrong analyzes an array of documents, including deeds, cash books, and census, tax, and harbor records.

Creole Transformation from Slavery to Freedom offers a rare glimpse of how a free Caribbean culture emerged from an 18th-century plantation society. Important to scholars interested in Caribbean peoples and their transformations, this illustrated book also will appeal to scholars of the African Diaspora.

Douglas V. Armstrong, associate professor of anthropology at Syracuse University, is the author of The Old Village and the Great House: An Archaeological and Historical Examination of Drax Hall Plantation, St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica.

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"Armstrong presents both the first definitive archaeological study of a free Creole Caribbean community, and a rare glimpse of how such a culture emerged in the 19th century from an 18th century plantation-based society." "a significant additon to the literature on Caribbean culture and history." Journal of Latin American Anthropology

"An important addition to collections in historical archaeology, Caribbean studies, and the African diaspora." Choice

"a careful and much-needed study of a marginal community that played a central role in the sociocultural transition of Caribbean societies from slavery to freedom." New West Indian Guide

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