A few blurbs:
In The Power to Die, Terri L. Snyder excavates the history of slave suicide, returning it to its central place in early American history. How did people—traders, plantation owners, and, most importantly, enslaved men and women themselves—view and understand these deaths, and how did they affect understandings of the institution of slavery then and now? Snyder draws on ships’ logs, surgeons' journals, judicial and legislative records, newspaper accounts, abolitionist propaganda and slave narratives, and many other sources to build a grim picture of slavery’s toll and detail the ways in which suicide exposed the contradictions of slavery, serving as a powerful indictment that resonated throughout the Anglo-Atlantic world and continues to speak to historians today.
“Snyder attends to her subject with great intelligence, care, and sensitivity. Drawing together an impressive variety of sources, she probes the connection between the public interest in slavery and the forbidden private will of the enslaved. This excellent study of mortuary politics confirms that the power to die can be as historically consequential as the power to hold, punish, and kill.” -- Vincent BrownMore information is available here. For even more, check out the interview that Snyder did with The Junto, here.
“The Power to Die is an important, innovative, and exceedingly well-researched book. Snyder has done some breathtaking archival work and the sheer variety of sources is astounding— drawing on newspapers, antislavery propaganda, ship log books, plantation diaries, account books, and slave narratives, to name a few. This book will be of great interest to many different scholars, including those who work on slavery and early America, but also those eager to know more about law, gender, technology, and early American print culture.” -- Hilary J. Moss