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Archaeologies of Slavery and Freedom in the CaribbeanExploring the Spaces in Between$
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Lynsey Bates, John M. Chenoweth, and James A. Delle

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781683400035

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683400035.001.0001

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“Poor Whites” on the Peripheries

“Poor Whites” on the Peripheries

“Poor White” and Afro-Barbadian Interaction on the Plantation

(p.49) 3 “Poor Whites” on the Peripheries
Archaeologies of Slavery and Freedom in the Caribbean

Matthew C. Reilly

University Press of Florida

This chapter explores socioeconomic interactions between “Poor Whites” or “Redlegs” and Afro-Barbadians as interpreted through material culture and a particular reading of a Barbadian plantation landscape. The tenantry of Below Cliff, now shrouded in dense forest, is located on the “rab” land or marginal zone of Clifton Hall plantation deemed unsuitable for large-scale agricultural production. Despite the marginality of the space in terms of plantation production and a perceived socioeconomic isolation of island “poor whites” in general, Below Cliff was a space of heightened interracial interaction. I argue that such seemingly marginal spaces (as well as the people who inhabit them) are significant arenas through which to explore the dynamic and nuanced race relations that play out in everyday life on and around the plantation. While plantation slavery was crucial in the development of modern racial ideologies and hierarchies, including attempts to rigidly impose and police racial boundaries, archaeological evidence suggests that on the local level these boundaries were exceedingly porous.

Keywords:   tenantry, marginality, racial ideologies

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