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What Was Christmas Like For Slaves In America?

In the book Yuletide in Dixie, author and historian Robert E. May explores the Christmas traditions in the antebellum South before, during and after the American Civil War.



Slaves often referred to New Year’s Day as “heartbreak day” because of the strong possibility they could be sold to a new employer and never see their families again. BlackAmericaWeb.com, by Bilal G. Morris, December 15, 2023.



In Yuletide in Dixie, May uncovers a dark reality that not only alters our understanding of that history but also sheds new light on the breakdown of slavery in the Civil War and how false assumptions about slave Christmases afterward became harnessed to myths undergirding white supremacy in the United States. By exposing the underside of slave Christmases, May helps us better understand the problematic stereotypes of modern southern historical tourism and why disputes over Confederate memory retain such staying power today. A major reinterpretation of human bondage, Yuletide in Dixie challenges disturbing myths embedded deeply in our culture.


How Can Black Americans Trace Their Roots? This New Documentary Shows One Family's Journey.


BYRON HURT AND HIS FAMILY WERE ON A QUEST TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THEIR FAMILY TREE. THIS FILM DOCUMENTS HOW THEY USED SCIENCE TO TRACE THEIR ORIGINS BACK TO THEIR ENSLAVED ANCESTORS.


ESSENCE, by Rayna Reid Rayford, Updated December 17, 2023


Browse 10 runaway slave notices photos and images available, or start a new search to explore more photos and images.




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