- Women, Gender, and American History
- Gender Frontiers and Early Encounters
- Manhood and the US Republican Empire
- Women and Conquest in the American West
- Women, Gender, Migration, and Modern US Imperialism
- Women, Unfree Labor, and Slavery in the Atlantic World
- Women, Power, and Families in Early Modern North America
- Women and Slavery in the Nineteenth Century
- Women’s Labors in Industrial and Postindustrial America
- Public and Print Cultures of Sex in the Long Nineteenth Century
- Interracial Sex, Marriage, and the Nation
- Reproduction, Birth Control, and Motherhood in the United States
- Sexual Coercion in America
- Gender, the Body, and Disability
- Transgender Representations, Identities, and Communities
- Women, Trade, and the Roots of Consumer Societies
- Gender and Consumption in the Modern United States
- Women at Play in Popular Culture
- Women, Gender, and Religion in the United States
- Religion, Reform, and Antislavery
- Women’s Rights, Suffrage, and Citizenship, 1789–1920
- Women, Gender, Race, and the Welfare State
- US Feminisms and Their Global Connections
- Sexual Minorities and Sexual Rights
- Women, Gender, and Conservatism in Twentieth-Century America
- Women, War, and Revolution
- Women, the Civil War, and Reconstruction
- Women and World War in Comparative Perspective
- Gender, Civil Rights, and the US Global Cold War
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter analyzes the lives of enslaved women in the nineteenth-century United States and the Caribbean, an era characterized by the massive expansion of the institution of chattel slavery. Framing the discussion through the themes of labor, commodification, sexuality, and resistance, this chapter highlights the wide range of lived experiences of enslaved women in the Atlantic World. Enslaved women’s productive and reproductive labor fueled the global machinery of capitalism and the market economy. Although enslaved women endured the constant exploitation and commodification of their bodies, many actively resisted their enslavement and carved out supportive and sustaining familial, marital, and kinship bonds. In addition, this essay explains how white, native, and black women could be complicit in the perpetuation of chattel slavery as enslavers and slave traders. Considering women in their roles as the oppressed and the oppressors contributes and expands historical understandings of gender and sexuality in relation to slavery.
Daina Ramey Berry is Oliver H. Radkey Professor of History and African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Swing the Sickle for the Harvest Is Ripe: Gender and Slavery in Antebellum Georgia (2007) and The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation (2017) and the editor-in-chief of Enslaved Women in America: An Encyclopedia (2012). Berry is also coeditor with Leslie Harris of Slavery and Freedom in Savannah (2014) and Sexuality and Slavery: Reclaiming Intimate Histories in the Americas (2018).
Nakia D. Parker is a doctoral candidate in the department of history at the University of Texas completing a dissertation on the forced migrations, resettlement patterns, and labor practices of people of African and black Indian descent enslaved in Choctaw and Chickasaw communities during the nineteenth century. She is the recipient of the Sara Jackson Graduate Student Award from the Western History Association and the C.M. Caldwell Memorial Award for Excellence in Historical Research from the Texas State Historical Association.
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