Enslaved Women and the Art of Resistance in Antebellum America (Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice)

Enslaved Women and the Art of Resistance in Antebellum America (Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice)

Language: English

Pages: 282

ISBN: 0230618464

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Draws on mid-seventeenth to nineteenth-century slave narratives to describe oppression in the lives of enslaved African women. Investigates pre-colonial West and West Central African women's lives prior to European arrival to recover the cultural traditions and religious practices that helped enslaved women combat violence and oppression.

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Pretty Peggy, Elizabeth, Molly, and so forth that the trickster held his prey, West and West Central African women and girls with a vibrant past and an unknown future. They were not chattel. They were daughters, mothers, and wives. These women were warriors, market women, artisans, agriculturalists, 10.1057/9780230100664 - Enslaved Women and the Art of Resistance in Antebellum America, Renee K. Harrison Copyright material from www.palgraveconnect.com - licensed to University of South Florida -

practice is but too successful—when it fails, the women are frequently sold off to the south.”21 Slavers believed, as articulated in an 1829 North Carolina Supreme Court decision that “the power of the master must be absolute to render the submission of the slave perfect.”22 Sexual assaults at a young age heightened the probability of inducing long-term fear and compliance. One former enslaved man expressed, “I had a pretty sister . . . When she was sixteen years old, her master sent for her . .

Harrison Copyright material from www.palgraveconnect.com - licensed to University of South Florida - PalgraveConnect - 2011-04-30 Violence among Women in American Colonies Enslaved Women and the Art of Resistance girl—forgetful that we must all die—that not only must I die—but—I may have this misery of seeing those I love better than life—whose lives are dearer to me than my own soul—taken, & I left to mourn their loss.”6 But who and what was Page King grieving over or about? Was she

interest in violence and strategies of resistance during the antebellum period emerged in my teens when I read slave narratives, such as Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl named Clotee. I was intrigued by Douglass’ and Clotee’s worlds. The deep connectedness I felt to the rich textures of the enslaved peoples’ lives mediated by Douglass and Clotee had a profound impact on me. During this time, the presence of some of those unknown and unnamed

those theoretical methods. These scholars and activists also rely on sources and epistemologies within their own traditions and experiences. Most draw from the rich reservoir of enslaved and working-class women’s ways of knowing as primary sources to inform their theorizing. These scholars’ and activists’ theorizing helps me to conceptualize how enslaved and free African women found ingenious indigenous ways to move from chaos to creativity and thereby combat violence, subvert enslavement, and

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