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This chapter investigates black working people’s changing leisure practices in the early 1840s as opportunities in the local marketplace expanded, their wages on and off plantations rose temporarily, and they asserted their presence in public space in novel ways. Freedpeople’s improved housing, expanded amusements, and revamped consumption habits announced their conviction that freedom should also transform their social lives. Freedpeople left slave barracks and founded all-black free villages, bought new clothes, and socialized in private and public space in ways anew. But their changed religious and secular public engagements opened up further subjection to church and state authority and were...

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