Hidden Lives in a Community of Enslaved Georgians

Title Details

Pages: 210

Illustrations: 11 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 04/01/2021

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5898-7

List Price: $29.95


Pub Date: 04/01/2021

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5897-0

List Price: $114.95


Hidden Lives in a Community of Enslaved Georgians

Uncovering the lost histories of enslaved peoples in the South

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Seen/Unseen is a vivid portrait of the complex network that created, held, and sustained a community of the enslaved. The hundreds of men and women kept in bondage by the Cobb-Lamar family, one of the wealthiest and most politically prominent families in antebellum America, labored in households and on plantations that spanned Georgia. Fragments of their lives were
captured in thousands of letters written between family members, who recorded the external experiences of the enslaved but never fully reckoned with their humanity. Drawn together for the first time, these fragments reveal a community that maintained bonds of affection, kinship, and support across vast distances of space, striving to make their experiences in slavery more bearable.

Christopher R. Lawton, Laura E. Nelson, and Randy L. Reid have meticulously excavated the vast Cobb Family Papers at the University of Georgia to introduce into the historical record the lives of Aggy Carter and her father George, Rachel Lamar Cole, Alfred Putnam, Berry Robinson, Bob Scott, and Sylvia Shropshire and her daughter Polly. Each experienced enslavement in ways that were at once both remarkably different and similar. Seen/Unseen tells their stories through four interconnected chapters, each supported by a careful selection of primary source documents and letters. After mapping the underlying structures that supported the wealth and power of the Cobb-Lamar family, the authors then explore how those same pathways were used by the
enslaved to function within the existing system, confront the limitations placed on them, challenge what they felt were its worst injustices, and try to shape the boundaries of their own lives.

Illuminates a subject that has been buried in whitewashed stereotypes. . . . SEEN/UNSEEN has an immediacy and a freshness that makes compelling reading.

—Pete McCommons, Flagpole Magazine

Seen/Unseen is also a much different book in the sense that it is not a traditional monograph. Instead, it is partly a monograph and partly an edited collection of Cobb family letters. . . . The result is highly effective. It may just be that the authors have developed a model for how to structure an edited collection of primary material; it may also be that they have come up with a new method of capturing plantation dynamics and highlighting the lives of enslaved people.

—Bennett Parten, The Georgia Historical Quarterly

About the Author/Editor

Christopher R. Lawton (Editor)
CHRISTOPHER R. LAWTON is an independent scholar and writer. He earned his Ph.D in history from the University of Georgia in 2011. He has worked with Laura E. Nelson and Randy L. Reid on the nonprofit Georgia Virtual History Project for the past decade.

Laura E. Nelson (Editor)
LAURA E. NELSON is an independent scholar and writer and an alumna of the University of Georgia's history department.

Randy L. Reid (Editor)
RANDY L. REID is the chair of the humanities department at Athens Academy in Athens, Georgia. He earned his PhD in history from Louisiana State University in 1995.