Stolen Childhood
Revised and Expanded Edition

Stolen Childhood

Slave Youth in Nineteenth-Century America
Second Edition
Wilma King
Distribution: World
Publication date: 6/8/2011
ISBN: 978-0-253-00107-8
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2012 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection
A 2012 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
One of the most important books published on slave society, Stolen Childhood focuses on the millions of children and youth enslaved in 19th-century America. This enlarged and revised edition reflects the abundance of new scholarship on slavery that has emerged in the 15 years since the first edition. While the structure of the book remains the same, Wilma King has expanded its scope to include the international dimension with a new chapter on the transatlantic trade in African children, and the book’s geographic boundaries now embrace slave-born children in the North. She includes data about children owned by Native Americans and African Americans, and presents new information about children’s knowledge of and participation in the abolitionist movement and the interactions between enslaved and free children.

Author Bio

Wilma King is Arvarh E. Strickland Distinguished Professor in African-American History and Culture at the University of Missouri, Columbia, where she holds a joint appointment in the Black Studies Program and Department of History. Her books include The Essence of Liberty: Free Black Women during the Slave Era; We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible: A Reader in Black Women's History (edited with Darlene Clark Hine and Linda Reed); A Northern Woman in the Plantation South: Letters of Tryphena Blanche Holder Fox, 1856-1876; Children of the Emancipation; and Toward the Promised Land: From Uncle Tom's Cabin to the Onset of the Civil War, 1851-1861.


"King provides a jarring snapshot of children living in bondage. This compellingly written work is a testament to the strength and resilience of the children and their parents." —Booklist , reviewing a previous edition or volume

Stolen Childhood is a wonderful book with manifold strengths of research and analysis." —Nell Irvin Painter, reviewing a previous edition or volume

"King’s deeply researched, well-written, passionate study places children and young adults at center stage in the North American slave experience." —
Choice , reviewing a previous edition or volume

"[King] takes an enormous step toward filling some of the voids in the literature of slavery." —
Washington Post Book World , reviewing a previous edition or volume

"Wilma King has done a service in correcting a major problem in slave history. Her writing style gracefully conveys both the joys and the terrors of youth under slavery." —
Southern Historian , reviewing a previous edition or volume

Stolen Childhood mines the major American archives in order to present the ways in which enslaved men and women created a semblance of family life and cultural heritage." —, reviewing a previous edition or volume

Stolen Childhood is a welcome addition to the burgeoning literature on the slave experience in the United States." —History of Education Quarterly , reviewing a previous edition or volume

"Drawing on extensive new scholarship and sources, [King] adds significant new demographic information regarding slave children and broadens her scope to include slave children born in the North and in urban centers. . . . Essential." —

"King's work is fresh and accessible. It fills key gaps in scholarship on slavery and would make for a worthwhile read for anyone from the casual reader of history to the

scholar." —
Tennessee Libraries

"[T]his is an ambitious book that not only pioneered the history of African-American child slavery, but also made a significant impact on the discourse addressing slavery in the USA more generally. . . a masterful work." —Slavery and Abolition

"Stolen Childhood provides a broad overview of slave childhood throughout the nineteenth-century South and moves beyond the Civil War years to demonstrate that the brutality directed against enslaved children did not end with emancipation." —Journal of Southern History

"[King's] cogent general picture offeres a valuable entree into the topic, and provides a sound frame of reference for the temporally or spacially more specific research that her study should generate." —American Studies

"[Until] the appearance of this book, no monograph had focused exclusively on the many topics relating to the enslaved young." —American Historical Review

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"Wilma King's book is a welcome addition to the literature. . . The author compares the hardships of slave childhood with those created by war or siege." —

"King has performed a valuable service to the historiographies of slavery and of children. It is important to be reminded that slaves were children before they became the men and women who form our more familiar images of slavery." —Register Kentucky Historical Society

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition
1. In the Beginning: The Transatlantic Trade in Children of African Descent
2. “You know that I am one man that do love his children”: Slave Children and Youth in the Family and Community
3. “Us ain't never idle”: Slave Children and Youth in the World of Work
4. “When day is done”: Play and Leisure Activities of Slave Children and Youth
5. “Knowledge unfits a child to be a slave”: The Temporal and Spiritual Education of Slave Children and Youth
6. “What has Ever Become of My Presus Little Girl”: The Traumas and Tragedies of Slave Children and Youth
7. “Free at last”: The Quest for Freedom by Slave Children and Youth
8. “There's a better day a-coming”: The Transition from Slavery to Freedom for Children and Youth