Courtship and Love among the Enslaved in North Carolina

Courtship and Love among the Enslaved in North Carolina

by Rebecca J. Fraser

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Overview

A study of the complexities of intimate relationships among slaves on plantations, in towns, and on small farms

Through an examination of various couples who were forced to live in slavery, Rebecca J. Fraser argues that slaves found ways to conduct successful courting relationships. In its focus on the processes of courtship among the enslaved, this study offers further insight into the meanings that structured intimate lives.

Establishing their courtships, often across plantations, the enslaved men and women of antebellum North Carolina worked within and around the slave system to create and maintain meaningful personal relationships that were both of and apart from the world of the plantation. They claimed the right to participate in the social events of courtship and, in the process, challenged and disrupted the southern social order in discreet and covert acts of defiance.

Informed by feminist conceptions of gender, sexuality, power, and resistance, the study argues that the courting relationship afforded the enslaved a significant social space through which they could cultivate alternative identities to those which were imposed upon them in the context of their daily working lives.

Rebecca J. Fraser is lecturer in American studies at the University of East Anglia. Her essays have appeared in Journal of Southern History and Slavery and Abolition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781617030383
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Publication date: 03/04/2011
Series: Margaret Walker Alexander Series in African American Studies
Pages: 148
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Rebecca J. Fraser is lecturer in American studies at the University of East Anglia. Her essays have appeared in Journal of Southern History and Slavery and Abolition.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction     3
"Love Seems with Them More to be an Eager Desire": Racialized Stereotypes in the Slaveholding South     22
Asking Master Mack to Court: Competing Spheres of Influence     32
Getting Out to Play and Courting All They Pleased: The Social and Temporal Geographies of Enslaved Courtship     52
Taking a Whipping for Lily: Courtship as a Narrative of Resistance     69
A Red Satin Ribbon Tied around My Finger: The Meaning of the Wedding Ceremony     88
Conclusion     101
Notes     105
Bibliography     123
Index     133

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