Front cover image for Forging freedom : Black women and the pursuit of liberty in antebellum Charleston

Forging freedom : Black women and the pursuit of liberty in antebellum Charleston

Amrita Chakrabarti Myers (Author)
"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"--Provided by publisher
eBook, English, 2011
The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2011
1 online resource (xi, 267 pages) : illustrations
9780807869093, 9781469602592, 0807869090, 1469602598
Introduction: imagining freedom in the slave South
City of contrasts: Charleston before the Civil War
A way out of no way: Black women and manumission
To survive and thrive: race, sex, and waged labor in the city
The currency of citizenship: property ownership and Black female freedom
A tale of two women: the lives of Cecille Cogdell and Sarah Sanders
A fragile freedom: the story of Margaret Bettingall and her daughters
Epilogue: the continuing search for freedom