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This chapter analyzes the trajectories of the ex-slaves who remained on the plantations in the two decades after abolition (1888–1910). The idea is to see how they sought to change their relationships with their former owners and define themselves in freedom. The chapter argues that remaining on the old properties or in the villages where they were born as slaves represented strategic choices for survival in the post-emancipation period. To sustain this argument, the chapter relies on written documents, especially registry office records, which made it possible to connect ex-slaves and their descendants born after abolition and follow them through the first two decades of the post-emancipation period. This chapter makes use of oral sources to reconstruct the stories of families and communities and their memories of slavery and freedom.

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