Summary Of The Black Loyalists By James Walkers

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James Walker’s The Black Loyalists: The Search for a Promised Land in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, 1783-1870 is a comprehensive study of black loyalists as a unique community in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone. Part of Walker’s book is in direct relation and defense of the work Christopher Fyfe had done previously, History of Sierra Leone. Walker’s view on the subject is, even though Sierra Leone is such a small area comparatively to the rest of Africa, important developments and significant trends developed in Sierra Leone and Nova Scotia that are worth examining. The main topic that he looks at is Black Loyalists and the effects they have had on history. Through the book Walker uses Fyfe’s contributions to the study of Sierra Leone and is arguing that it is important for us to look at and to expand on it back to Nova Scotia. The most significant reason walker wants more attention to be draw to the development of the Black Loyalists community is that they had influenced other societies to a good extent. Contributions to other groups of people have been deemed important, but walker feels that an understanding of the development of the Black Loyalists is lacking. This book is slightly older, being written in 1976, a while before Atlantic studies had been developed as a way of looking at history. Walker begins his book by looking at the origins of the Black Loyalists. He places the start of Black Loyalists to the declaration of Lord Dunmore, the Governor of Virginia, in November 1775. Dunmore declared that all slaves or free black willing to bear arms with the Majesty’s troops could do so. Slaves or servants were promised freedom and shortly after Dunmore’s proclamation runaway slaves started to flock to join the Governor’s ‘Ethiopia... ... middle of paper ... the movement from America, to Nova Scotia, and finally to Sierra Leone. After the first few chapters Walker jumps back and forth between societies and time seemingly at random using examples that fit his argument. Besides small disagreements and slightly confusing organization Walker’s book reserves good reviews. It was an interesting read, however I think it underplayed the role that the Sierra Leone Company had on the Black Loyalist. Walker’s primary resources appear to be extensive. The endnotes he uses come at the end of each chapter and take up a good portion of the book. At the end of the book walker still has a comprehensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources that total 27 pages of references. This book is a great look at the connection between the Americas, Europe, and Africa that can be seen as prelude to studies of the Atlantic world.

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