Forging Freedom : Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston

By: Myers, Amrita ChakrabartiMaterial type: TextTextSeries: eBooks on DemandPublisher: Chapel Hill : The University of North Carolina Press, 2011Description: 1 online resource (282 p.)ISBN: 9780807869093Subject(s): African American women -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- History -- 19th century | African American women -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- Social conditions -- 19th century | Charleston (S.C.) -- History -- 1775-1865 | Charleston (S.C.) -- Race relations -- History -- 19th century | Charleston (S.C.) -- Social conditions -- 19th century | Freedmen -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- History -- 19th century | Freedmen -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- Social conditions -- 19th centuryGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: Forging Freedom : Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum CharlestonDDC classification: 305.48 | 305.48/8960730757915 LOC classification: F279.C49 N458 2011Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Cover; Contents; Acknowledgments; Introduction: Imagining Freedom in the Slave South; PART I: GLIMPSING FREEDOM; 1 City of Contrasts: Charleston before the Civil War; PART II: BUILDING FREEDOM; 2 A Way Out of No Way: Black Women and Manumission; 3 To Survive and Thrive: Race, Sex, and Waged Labor in the City; 4 The Currency of Citizenship: Property Ownership and Black Female Freedom; PART III: EXPERIENCING FREEDOM; 5 A Tale of Two Women: The Lives of Cecille Cogdell and Sarah Sanders; 6 A Fragile Freedom: The Story of Margaret Bettingall and Her Daughters
Epilogue: The Continuing Search for FreedomNotes; Bibliography; Index; A; B; C; D; E; F; G; H; J; K; L; M; N; O; P; Q; R; S; T; V; W; Z
Summary: For black women in antebellum Charleston, freedom was not a static legal category but a fragile and contingent experience. In this deeply researched social history, Amrita Chakrabarti Myers analyzes the ways in which black women in Charleston acquired, defined, and defended their own vision of freedom. Drawing on legislative and judicial materials, probate data, tax lists, church records, family papers, and more, Myers creates detailed portraits of individual women while exploring how black female Charlestonians sought to create a fuller freedom by improving their financial, social, and legal standing. Examining both those who were officially manumitted and those who lived as free persons but lacked official documentation, Myers reveals that free black women filed lawsuits and petitions, acquired property (including slaves), entered into contracts, paid taxes, earned wages, attended schools, and formed familial alliances with wealthy and powerful men, black and white--all in an effort to solidify and expand their freedom. Never fully free, black women had to depend on their skills of negotiation in a society dedicated to upholding both slavery and patriarchy. Forging Freedom examines the many ways in which Charleston''s black women crafted a freedom of their own design instead of accepting the limited existence imagined for them by white Southerners.
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Cover; Contents; Acknowledgments; Introduction: Imagining Freedom in the Slave South; PART I: GLIMPSING FREEDOM; 1 City of Contrasts: Charleston before the Civil War; PART II: BUILDING FREEDOM; 2 A Way Out of No Way: Black Women and Manumission; 3 To Survive and Thrive: Race, Sex, and Waged Labor in the City; 4 The Currency of Citizenship: Property Ownership and Black Female Freedom; PART III: EXPERIENCING FREEDOM; 5 A Tale of Two Women: The Lives of Cecille Cogdell and Sarah Sanders; 6 A Fragile Freedom: The Story of Margaret Bettingall and Her Daughters

Epilogue: The Continuing Search for FreedomNotes; Bibliography; Index; A; B; C; D; E; F; G; H; J; K; L; M; N; O; P; Q; R; S; T; V; W; Z

For black women in antebellum Charleston, freedom was not a static legal category but a fragile and contingent experience. In this deeply researched social history, Amrita Chakrabarti Myers analyzes the ways in which black women in Charleston acquired, defined, and defended their own vision of freedom. Drawing on legislative and judicial materials, probate data, tax lists, church records, family papers, and more, Myers creates detailed portraits of individual women while exploring how black female Charlestonians sought to create a fuller freedom by improving their financial, social, and legal standing. Examining both those who were officially manumitted and those who lived as free persons but lacked official documentation, Myers reveals that free black women filed lawsuits and petitions, acquired property (including slaves), entered into contracts, paid taxes, earned wages, attended schools, and formed familial alliances with wealthy and powerful men, black and white--all in an effort to solidify and expand their freedom. Never fully free, black women had to depend on their skills of negotiation in a society dedicated to upholding both slavery and patriarchy. Forging Freedom examines the many ways in which Charleston''s black women crafted a freedom of their own design instead of accepting the limited existence imagined for them by white Southerners.

Description based upon print version of record.

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CHOICE Review

Myers (Indiana Univ.-Bloomington) offers an analysis of black women's struggles for freedom in Charleston during the early republic and antebellum years. She traces the stories of different women who used the white male-dominated legal system to acquire and maintain their legal and economic freedom. The author aims to identify contested forms of freedom based on one's gender, class, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, and geography, as well as a person's chronology and residence. She shows how black women worked within the system and turned it to their advantage in securing their freedom and gaining economic security in some cases as well. According to Myers, freedom was not the only objective for black women. Even more, freedom enabled black women to improve their economic and social standing in order to gain true independence. Myers addresses issues that have not been thoroughly researched thus far, offering keen insight into how black women defined freedom and independence in a system in which they were arguably the most marginalized group in society. An important contribution to the growing scholarly canon on the long-silenced voices of black women, both enslaved and free. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. C. Warren Empire State College

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