Maroon settlements in North America’s Mid-Atlantic colonies have recently received extensive attention from scholars and researchers. While anthropological and archaeological research and explorations have unearthed significant material liminal artifacts to indicate the presence of maroon communities in the Great Dismal Swamp (GDS) located between Virginia and North Carolina, few human remains from the interior have been reported and unearthed. Colonial records, slave laws, deeds, and newspaper advertisements of the early colonial period (1600s–1800s), provide written documentary evidence of maroon presence in the GDS. However, scant attention has been paid to the correlation between the profit motives of the colonial settlers, increasingly repressive slave laws, and court judgments and escapes into North American (GDS) marronage. Nor have scholars utilized alternative methods of viewing the existence of maroon communities while analyzing the de-growth sustainability of the maroons in the Great Dismal Swamp.
This article examines the correlations between colonial profit motives, slave laws, marronage, and environmental de-growth within the maroon communities. As the profits from production increased, Mid-Atlantic colonists increasingly turned to unfree labor, and implemented draconian slave laws and judgments to maintain perpetual racialized slavery. As a direct result, enslaved Africans increased their journeys to marronage and sustainable communities within the Great Dismal Swamp. I do not direct my focus to Indigenous peoples, but the violent removal, extinction, and extraction of Native American communities and kinships is worthy of study although outside of the scope of this article.
Brenda Reddix-Smalls, Maroons, the Law and Degrowth: A
Sustainable People in a Sustainable
Environment, 32 Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum 109-166 (2022)
Available at: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/delpf/vol32/iss1/3