Trouble So Hard: Labor and Life in the African-American Community, Edenton, North Carolina, 1870-1900


The author is a descendant of slaves, Provey Cox and Betty Cox, who made it through to see freedom in the small town of Edenton, North Carolina. Provey and Betty were married in 1831 and sold to separate owners in 1832. In 1866, Provey and Betty and their children were reunited. Provey registered to vote in 1867, and in the 1870 census, Provey and Betty were listed as people rather than as tally marks in a slave owner’s column.

Harriet Jacobs (a former Edenton slave, author and abolitionist) and Golden Frinks (one of North Carolina’s most important civil rights leaders) are significant figures in Edenton’s African-American history; however, they are not the only African-Americans that contributed to Edenton. There are many African-Americans who did not rise to the ranks of popular and local recognition. Everyday workers and laborers; farm, field and factory hands; nurses and cooks; fishermen and carpenters... they all helped to build Edenton for all of its residents, black and white. Their contributions are acknowledged here.

This book is grouped into two parts. Part One includes: 1870 “Making a Way Out of No Way,” 1880 “Revive Us Again,” and 1900 “I Will Trust in the Lord.” Part Two includes: articles from Edenton’s newspaper, Fisherman and Farmer; Daily Life and People; Education; Entertainment and Sports; Entrepreneurship and Labor; Politics and Civics; and Religion. A bibliography and a full-name index add to the value of this work.

Audrey Jean Sapp Childs

2017, 5½x8½, paper, index, 220 pp.

ISBN: 9780788457937