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Freedom's GardenerJames F. Brown, Horticulture, and the Hudson Valley in Antebellum America$
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Myra B. Young Armstead

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814705100

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814705100.001.0001

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date: 18 February 2019

Escaping Wage Slavery

Escaping Wage Slavery

(p.88) 6 Escaping Wage Slavery
Freedom's Gardener

Myra B. Young Armstead

NYU Press

This chapter discusses how James F. Brown engaged in another battlefront for freedom in antebellum America—the struggle against so-called wage slavery. Gardening gained him entry into the horticultural world, which enabled him to experience upward mobility. It also conferred upon him a degree of middle-class respectability that most laborers desired. As a gardener Brown earned about $400 per year—nearly three times the typical farm worker's earnings. Thus, he was able to avoid wage slavery entirely. While his labors were not strictly artisanal in the usual sense, as were those of tailors, carpenters, coopers, and blacksmiths; his work was essentially agricultural and therefore outside the immediate and initial reach of industrial forces.

Keywords:   James F. Brown, wage slavery, African American, former slaves, antebellum America

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