New York: Winchell M. French, 1862. First edition. Two dozen half-page and full-page illustrations throughout. Neat repairs to edges of boards. Some toning to margins and minor foxing to a few leaves. Yankton College Library ink stamp to top edge. Ink numerals to bottom edge of title-page. A very good copy of this scarce memoir by an abolitionist living among free Black people after the capture of Port Royal. Original black pebbled cloth boards, rebacked, with recent paper spine label. Twelvemo. 312 oo, Item #17071
Austa Malinda French (1810 – 1880) was an abolitionist who worked with her husband Mansfield French (1810 – 1876), friend of Abraham Lincoln and founder of the National Freedman’s Relief Association, to send groups of educators, ministers, and doctors to Port Royal to assist the 10,000 Black people who had been freed from slavery after the capture of the port. In 1861, The Union Army occupied South Carolina’s Sea Islands and seized tens of thousands of acres of land from fleeing plantation owners. Free Black people were finally compensated for their labor and, in 1863, were allowed under Lincoln’s new land redistribution policies to purchase land from the nearly 40,000 acres of abandoned Confederate plantations. Mitchellville, on Hilton Head, was established as the first of many all-Black communities that sprang up on the empty plantations. After Lincoln’s death in 1865, Andrew Johnson sought to end the so-called Port Royal Experiment by ousting Black people from their land and restoring the property to the white former slaveholders who had fled. Not all these former slaveholders returned, however, and thousands of Black landowners remained to farm their land for decades to come.The present memoir records French’s observations on slavery, plantation owners and other white citizens of the Sea Islands, and on the interactions of the educators, ministers, and doctors with the free Black population.
Jackson, Joelle. “Port Royal Experiment (1862-1865),” June 23, 2011. BlackPast website. Sabin 25847. LCP 3839. Work 371. Not in Blockson, Dumond, Bartlett.