In the True Blue’s Wake: Slavery and Freedom among the Families of Smithfield Plantation
On July 14th, 2022, historian Daniel Thorp held a lecture about his latest book, In The True Blue’s Wake: Slavery and Freedom among the Families of Smithfield Plantation.
In 1759, William Preston purchased sixteen enslaved Africans brought to Maryland aboard the True Blue, an English slave ship. Over the next century, the Prestons enslaved more than 200 individuals and used their labor to establish and operate Smithfield, the family’s Virginia seat, and the plantations into which it was later divided. In the True Blue’s Wake tells the story of the men and women who were enslaved at Smithfield between its establishment in 1774 and the abolition of slavery there in 1865: who they were and how they and their families endured the experience of slavery. It then follows those families after their emancipation as they moved throughout the United States and explores how they and their descendants used their families’ new freedom to advance in the world.
Dr. Daniel B. Thorp is an associate professor of history at Virginia Tech. He is the author of several books, including Facing Freedom: An African American Community in Virginia from Reconstruction to Jim Crow; and In the True Blue’s Wake: Slavery and Freedom among the Families of Smithfield Plantation.
The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.
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