File Name: paula giddings when and where i enter .zip
Author by : Paula J.
In its infancy, slavery was particularly harsh. Physical abuse, dismemberment, and torture were common to an institution that was far from peculiar to its victims. Partly as a result, in the eighteenth century, slave masters did not underestimate the will of their slaves to rebel, even their female slaves.
Black women proved especially adept at poisoning their masters, a skill undoubtedly imported from Africa. Incendiarism was another favorite method; it required neither brute physical strength nor direct confrontation. But Black women used every means available to resist slavery—as men did—and if caught were punished as harshly.
In a slave named Maria and two male companions were tried for attempting to burn down the home of their master in Massachusetts. One of the men was banished from the colony; the other was hanged. Maria was burned at the stake, and perhaps as an afterthought the lifeless body of her companion was thrown in to burn with her ashes.
In a woman was among a small band of slaves who killed seven Whites in Newton, Long Island. Four of the slaves were executed; the men were hanged, the woman burned at the stake. In , New York City where the first non-Indian women were Black was gripped in the panic of a slave revolt. They were ultimately subdued, but not before nine Whites had been killed and six injured. Among those arrested was a slave woman, visibly pregnant.
Their heads were stuck onto poles at each end of New Orleans as a warning to others. In , a slave named Kate and a Black boatswain were convicted of trying to burn down the entire community of Charlestown, Massachusetts.
Few attempted revolts struck more fear into the hearts of slaveholders than the one led by Nancy Prosser and her husband, Gabriel, in Virginia, when one thousand slaves met outside of Richmond in and marched on the city.
Though they were routed by the militia, the specter lingered of thousands of slaves—estimated at two thousand to fifty thousand in number—primed for rebellion. Black women resisted slavery in other ways as well. The underlying philosophy of the war was one reason; the need for Black soldiers to fight it was another. In the beginning, the American commanders were loath to arm Blacks or permit them to fight.
However, the need for additional manpower, and the fact that the English Loyalist forces not only welcomed Blacks but promised them freedom for their efforts, made the Americans respond in kind. An intriguing footnote to this history is that at the height of the war, George Washington invited a Black slave to confer with him at his headquarters.
The slave was Phillis Wheatley, a poet who had published a volume of verse and thus become the first Black and the second woman in America to do so. However, only days later, George Washington issued an order to conscript Blacks into the Continental Army. The role of Blacks in the Revolutionary War, the discontent of a White working class forced to compete with slave labor, and the infeasibility of slavery at a time of increasing industrialization hastened its abolition in the North by But after there were new challenges hurled at the South.
The increased number of freedmen and women—there were , in the South alone by —and the rise of the new abolitionists bent on total and uncompensated abolition, demanded a new southern strategy, one that would suppress the potential for slave revolts such as the Nat Turner rebellion in And the institution did indeed change. Masters provided protection, physical necessities, and minimum brutality in return for slave obedience and loyalty.
This practice was even reflected in the new Slave Codes, which required that slaves be decently provided for, while prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.
And what better authority figure than the paternalistic slave master, aristocratic in bearing, bragging that his slaves were better treated than the working classes of Europe?
And of course there was the mistress, patronizingly tolerant, and as loyal to Mammy as Mammy was to her. However operative all this was in practice, the ideal of a Victorian domestic institution had a tremendous effect on slaves and on women.
Although the slaves may have been physically better off than before, the psychological effects of the new slavery were potentially devastating. She continues:. In fact both sides were right, and both sides were wrong. In earlier, harsher times, they had been seen as luckless, unfortunate barbarians. Now they were to be treated as children never expected to grow up. The emphasis on family was another dimension of the new slavery. Unlike the slavocracies of South America and the Caribbean, Southerners encouraged organic family units among their slaves.
In other countries there were disproportionate numbers of male slaves, illustrating the tendency of those countries primarily to import males to work the plantations. In contrast, by the ratio of Black men to women in the United States was almost equal. This factor had a number of consequences: Family relationships among American slaves both discouraged rebellion and runaways, and encouraged a self-sustaining reproduction of the labor force.
The Victorian family ideal also carried a specific consequence for women. White southern women found themselves enmeshed in an interracial web in which wives, children, and slaves were all expected to obey the patriarchal head of the household, as historian Anne Firor Scott observed. The compliance of White women became inextricably linked to that of the slaves. And little wonder, too, that southern women, as a group, were the most reluctant to assert a feminist sensibility. The White wife was hoisted on a pedestal so high that she was beyond the sensual reach of her own husband.
Black women were consigned to the other end of the scale, as mistresses, whores, or breeders. With the diminution of overt rebellion, their resistance became more covert or internalized. So Black women had a double challenge under the new slavery: They had to resist the property relation which was different in form, if not in nature, to that of White women and they had to inculcate the same values into succeeding generations.
The narrative of Linda Brent, a South Carolina slave, revealed her struggle against the exchange of sexual favors for material reward. Finally he offered her a cabin on the edge of the plantation if she would accede to his demands. Brent resisted, however, and escaped to the North. Even then, Flint continued to pursue her until a friend purchased her freedom. For a slave like Linda Brent to have developed such a consciousness, it was necessary for some authority figure to have given her a sense of self that contradicted the dictates of the new slavery.
Slave narratives are replete with examples of mothers attempting to impart such values to their children, often at the price of great emotional anguish. The efforts of slave mothers to instill values in their children had an effect that was not always positive. The need to be exceedingly harsh or enterprising where their children were concerned often created emotional distance between mother and child.
It is not difficult to imagine the anxiety of a mother whose daughter had reached the age of puberty in the slave South. According to the narratives, it was that anxiety that created the greatest friction between mother and daughter. In the world of the slave mother, there was little room for compassion, because there was no room for weakness. This was especially true when the mother herself had been compromised. Slave communities also enforced moral codes. Although, as in many African societies, prenuptial intercourse was not necessarily frowned upon, having a baby outside of marriage often was.
In spite of the vagaries of the slave system, marriage, fidelity, and an organized family life were important values, combining the ethics of the society, African mores, and resistance to the new slavery. Perhaps the most dramatic and least known act of resistance was the refusal of slave women to perform their most essential role, producing baby slaves, for which they were rewarded.
Even so, a Texas slave by the name of Rose Williams tried to resist a forcible mating. When her master placed a healthy specimen by the name of Rufus in her cabin for this purpose, she chased him out with a three-foot poker. Subsequent visits by Rufus met with the same response. Rose Williams finally relented when the master threateningly reminded her that he had purchased her entire family to save them from being separated.
Rose upheld her end of the desperate bargain and bore Rufus two children. Some slave women, perhaps a significant number, did not bear offspring for the system at all.
They used contraceptives and abortives in an attempt to resist the system, and to gain control over their bodies. When contraception failed, slave women took more extreme measures.
When the slave owner purchased new slaves, every pregnancy miscarried by the fourth month. At least one slave narrative indicates that the women understood the larger significance of their act. Brent, op. Herbert G.
Gutman, op. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. She continues: In fact both sides were right, and both sides were wrong. Like this: Like Loading Categories: histories , race , reproduction. Comments 0 Trackbacks 1 Leave a comment Trackback. No comments yet.
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Morrow, - Social Science - pages. See all books authored by Paula J. Wells and the First Antilynching Campaign Before they took his life, they asked Thomas Moss if he had anything to say. This book is a testimonial to the profound influence of African-American women on race and women's movements throughout American history. You are about to access "When and Where I Enter".
Paula J. She is currently [ when? She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. During her career, she made contributions to American history, Women's Studies, and African American Studies that center African American women in order to offer greater inclusion and representation. These works have been foundational in the study of African American women's feminism, history, and activism, as the number of accolades Giddings has received and the books and journal articles citing her body of work show. Giddings grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood in Yonkers, New York, where she regularly and systematically experienced isolation and racism from her white neighbors. These experiences would deeply shape her entree into activism as a teen and young adult.
Throughout history, there have been Black women who played vital roles in the quest for racial and gender equality. As these women take the forefront, they deal with a lack of respect, an inner struggle to live up to their various roles, and even violence, but press onward despite the obstacles. Among these are Ida B. Wells and Mary Church Terrell. Both women are aware that lynchings are common in the South and that there should be something done about it. Both are impacted personally when a mutual friend, Thomas Moss, is lynched for no reason other than he'd founded a successful business.
This book is a testimonial to the profound influence of African-American women on race and women's movements throughout American history. Paula Giddings. From Ida B.
About Paula J. And it is so good and so relevant for this historic moment of tension where the fight against systemic anti-black racism and for women's rights is back on the agenda.
In a technological age where we are inundated with self-help, self-analysis and self-assessment products, it is so much more helpful to read a perspective that shows African-American women where we fit outside of ourselves.Reply