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Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women of the Old South (Gender and American Culture)by Elizab Fox Genovese
Synopses & Reviews
"Asks us to put aside simple generalizations and explore the complicated world that masters and slaves built together on their terms, not ours. . . . Fox-Genovese provides a rich analysis . . . without losing her critical eye or her amazing capacity for empathy. Like no other historian before or since."
— Civil War Times [A] well-written and thoroughly researched social history.
—New Yorker Elizabeth Fox-Genovese . . . . succeeds brilliantly.
—Mechal Sobel, New York Times Book Review Virtually every sentence stimulates and every page challenges. . . . A vivid, extensive chonicle of Southern women's daily existence .
—Publisher's Weekly An ambitious book . . . . Elizabeth Fox-Genovese elevates American women's history to a new level of sophistication.
—Nell Irvin Painter, Princeton University
This important book challenges many current notions about antebellum southern women, white and black. Bound in a web of intimacy fraught with violence, the lives of slave women were intertwined, but they were never linked in sisterhood. Although mistresses and slaves shared a common household, they were radically different from each other, and Within the Plantation Household documents the difficult class relations between slaveholding and slave women.
Documenting the difficult class relations between women slaveholders and slave women, this study shows how class and race as well as gender shaped women's experiences and determined their identities. Drawing upon massive research in diaries, letters, memoirs, and oral histories, the author argues that the lives of antebellum southern women, enslaved and free, differed fundamentally from those of northern women and that it is not possible to understand antebellum southern women by applying models derived from New England sources.
A powerful historical study in which the author's use of letters, memoirs, oral histories, as well as extensive archival sources bring black and white women's lives and identities to light in the antebellum South.
About the Author
Elizabeth Fox-Genovese is Eleonore Raoul Professor of the Humanities and professor of history at Emory University. She is author of Feminism Without Illusions: A Critique of Individualism and coauthor of Fruits of Merchant Capital: Slavery and Bourgeois Property in the Rise and Expansion of Capitalism.
Table of Contents
Chapter One Southern Women, Southern Households
Chapter Two The View from the Big House
Chapter Three Between Big House and Slave Community
Chapter Four Gender Conventions
Chapter Five The Imaginative Worlds of Slaveholding Women: Louisa Susanna McCord and Her Countrywomen
Chapter Six Women Who Opposed Slavery
Chapter Seven And Women Who Did Not
John Gayle as governor of Alabama, ca. 1835 / 19
Gayle House, Greensboro, Alabama / 20
Letter from Sarah Gayle to John Gayle, 19 May 1831 / 21
Sand Hills Plantation, Richland County, South Carolina / 122
Pond Bluff Plantation, Berkeley County, South Carolina / 124
Gippy Plantation, Berkeley County, South Carolina / 125
Retreat Plantation, St. Simon's Island, Georgia / 125
Anna Matilda Page King, 1870 / 126
Kitchen and smokehouse on the Pond Bluff Plantation / 168
Kitchen on the Bloomsbury Plantation, Camden, South Carolina / 169
Woman and child in rice field, Sapelo Island, Georgia / 170
Woman at work, Ben Hill County, Georgia / 171
Keziah Goodwyn Hopkins Brevard, ca. 1830 / 217
Virginia Tunstall Clay, 1850s / 218
Octavia Walton LeVert, ca. 1840 / 220
Nancy Fort, ca. 1800 / 221
Bust of Louisa S. McCord / 264 McCord House, Columbia, South Carolina / 265
Caroline Georgia Wylly Couper, ca. 1830 / 266
Lucy Muse Walton Fletcher and the Reverend Patterson Fletcher, 1850s / 267
Women pounding rice, Sapelo Island, Georgia / 310
"Old Sarah," ca. 1840 / 311
Midwife in Glynn County, Georgia, ca. 1930 / 312
Mary Boykin Chesnut, ca. 1840 / 350
Lucy Muse Walton Fletcher, ca. 1870 / 351
Mulberry Plantation, near Camden, South Carolina / 352
Virginia Tunstall Clay-Clopton, 1860s / 353
Harriet Jacobs, ca. 1890 / 385
Letter from Harriet Jacobs to Amy Post, 23 May [n.d.] / 386
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