Red, White, and Black Make Blue Indigo in the Fabric of Colonial South Carolina Life

ISBN-10: 0820345539
ISBN-13: 9780820345536
Edition: 2013
Authors: Andrea Feeser
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Description: Like cotton, indigo has defied its humble origins. Left alone it might have been a regional plant with minimal reach, a localized way of dyeing textiles, paper, and other goods with a bit of blue. But when blue became the most popular color for the  More...

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Book details

List price: $24.95
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publication date: 11/15/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 160
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.594
Language: English

Like cotton, indigo has defied its humble origins. Left alone it might have been a regional plant with minimal reach, a localized way of dyeing textiles, paper, and other goods with a bit of blue. But when blue became the most popular color for the textiles that Britain turned out in large quantities in the eighteenth century, the South Carolina indigo that colored most of this cloth became a major component in transatlantic commodity chains. In Red, White, and Black Make Blue, Andrea Feeser tells the stories of all the peoples who made indigo a key part of the colonial South Carolina experience as she explores indigo’s relationships to land use, slave labor, textile production and use, sartorial expression, and fortune building.In the eighteenth century, indigo played a central role in the development of South Carolina. The popularity of the color blue among the upper and lower classes ensured a high demand for indigo, and the climate in the region proved sound for its cultivation. Cheap labor by slaves—both black and Native American—made commoditization of indigo possible. And due to land grabs by colonists from the enslaved or expelled indigenous peoples, the expansion into the backcountry made plenty of land available on which to cultivate the crop. Feeser recounts specific histories—uncovered for the first time during her research—of how the Native Americans and African slaves made the success of indigo in South Carolina possible. She also emphasizes the material culture around particular objects, including maps, prints, paintings, and clothing. Red, White, and Black Make Blue is a fraught and compelling history of both exploitation and empowerment, revealing the legacy of a modest plant with an outsized impact.

Andrea Feeser is a writer and teaches art history, previously at the University of Hawai'i and currently at Clemson University.

Acknowledgments
Introduction. Why South Carolina Indigo?
South Carolina Indigo in British and Colonial Wear
South Carolina Indigo in British Textiles for the Home and Colonial Market
South Carolina Indigo in the Dress of Slaves and Sovereign Indians
Indigo Cultivation and Production in South Carolina
Botanists, Merchants, and Planters in South Carolina: Investments in Indigo
The Role of Indigo in Native-Colonist Struggles over Land and Goods
Producing South Carolina Indigo: Colonial Planters and the Skilled Labor of Slaves
Indigo Plantation Histories
Indigo and an East Florida Plantation: Overseer Indian Johnson Walks Away
Slave John Williams: A Key Contributor to the Lucas-Pinckney Indigo Concern
Conclusion. South Carolina Indigo: A History of Color
Notes
Index

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