Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2007

Abstract

Edwin F. Atkins and Charles Francis Adams, Jr., stand out on this stage not as major players but as a particularly intriguing Boston connection. Among the truly major players, planters like Juli?n Zulueta and the Count of Casa More owned hundreds of slaves and shaped Spanish policy. On the Cuban nationalist side, few could equal the impact of Antonio Maceo, the mulato insurgent general who insisted on full emancipation at the end of the 1868-1878 war, or the thousands of rebels who fought under the orders of rebel generals Maceo and Maximo Gomez. As the master of some ninety-five patrocinados beginning in 1884, Edwin Atkins was a late arrival on the scene of slavery. But he did leave an exceptionally rich record of his years in Cuba, including daily correspondence with the manager of Soledad, his sugar estate. Charles Francis Adams, Jr., enjoyed a walk-on part, visiting Edwin Atkins at Soledad plantation for several weeks in 1890. He spent his mornings on horseback exploring the neighborhood and his afternoons writing wry, care fully crafted letters to his wife and his brother. Together, the Atkins and the Adams papers-both held by the Massachusetts Historical Society-provide a vivid portrait of the end of slavery and the first years of freedom.


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