Master and slaves at work in the North Carolina Piedmont: The Nicholas Bryor Massenburg plantation, 1834-1861
Master of Arts
Nicholas Bryor Massenburg, a cotton and tobacco planter in Piedmont North Carolina, operated his plantation within a network of fellow farmers, neighbors, friends, and relatives. He turned to merchants in town and to scattered individuals for goods, services, and hired labor. He also sold surplus food crops locally, meaning that a portion of his income was derived not just from the sale of cotton and tobacco. For Massenburg, managing his plantation also meant implementing agricultural reform techniques. The twenty-some slaves were organized into a system that was a hybrid of task and gang labor, with work routines varying throughout the year. Task variation peaked in spring and late fall, while during much of summer and early fall the slaves performed a limited variety of tasks. Rigid gender segregation did not characterize the working environment at the Massenburg plantation.
Industrial sociology; Labor relations