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Michelle McDonald
Richard Stockton College of New Jersey (Galloway, NJ 08205-9441)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2012 – 8/31/2012

The Free Produce Movement in Early America

Most scholars, except the notable few who highlight Revolutionary era boycotts, consider consumer politics to be a twentieth-century phenomenon. This project, by contrast, argues that consumer activism became prominent during the first half of the nineteenth century through the "free produce" movement, efforts of mostly Quaker and free black abolitionists to encourage consumers to avoid slave-made goods--principally tropical goods from the Caribbean--and purchase products made by "free labor." While the project is centered in North America, I trace connections between these activists, men, women, free black, and white, and their counterparts in Britain and the West Indies. As such, I not only address questions of race and gender, by charting who participated in this anti-slavery movement, but also explore the intersections between political economy and consumer behavior from a transatlantic perspective.