African-American Women: Enslaved and Free

When examining the attributes of a southern woman, African American women cannot be left out of the story. In the “paternalistic image” of slavery, enslaved African women were painted as submissive, happy characters. When looking at Mammy from Gone with the Wind, it is obvious that this image of enslaved women was largely fictionalized. Mammy and Scarlett have a familial relationship rather than a forced relationship. Mammy seems contented to remain Scarlett’s slave and happy with her position in life. In reality though, enslaved African women worked to resist their masters and reclaim their identities through attending secret parties. After emancipation, African American freedwomen defined their freedom through resisting white employers control. Enslaved African women and freed African women cannot be forgotten as an important part of southern feminine identity.

For further reading on types of slave resistance, please visit:
http://scholar.library.miami.edu/slaves/womens_resistance/womens.html
http://vi.uh.edu/pages/buzzmat/Radhistory/radical%20history%20articles/Slave%20Resistance%20and%20Pleasures%20of%20the%20Body.pdf
For further reading on African American women in reconstruction, please visit:
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/aaohtml/exhibit/aopart5.html
http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/scriptorium/wlm/blacklib/

One thought on “African-American Women: Enslaved and Free

  1. Pingback: Women of the Old South

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