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This chapter examines the transformations in labor after abolition. It first examines the racial and economic reasons why Antigua, unlike most other British Caribbean colonies, decided to forego the four-year apprenticeship scheme devised to keep enslaved people in a liminal, subservient, and unfree state, and proceed directly to abolition. Then the chapter presents the ways that black working people contested the official version of freedom through informal and often extralegal negotiations with their employers over issues such as wages, work schedules, workplace duties, the labor of women and children, and the pursuit of livelihoods beyond the plantations. Freedpeople’s growing mobility...

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