For this paper, I will focus on Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery, by Jennifer L. Morgan. I choose to use this as one of my secondary sources because it outlines the absurd ideologies that many non-slaves, such as slave owners, constructed regarding African American women fertility, by exposing their reproductive abilities. My paper is exploring how many African American women were not just abused as slaves, but as means for sexual pleasure, reproductive use, and for mere economic profit. Discussing such a horrific topic is very difficult, so in this paper I am seeking to explore how Jennifer Morgan describes all the cruel racial injustices that African women experienced from their perspective, and the perspective …show more content…
Nonetheless, it was a grotesque technique to conceal these white men’s’ distorted and disgusting beliefs that somehow a body of an African women was able to reproduce better without any pain. Nonetheless, this irrational thought was justified because white women experienced pain because they were decedents from Eve. Thus, they were trying to avoid any women feeling pain during pain. By clarifying this ridiculous claim with representations from the bible, they believed it was constitutionally and biblically acceptable to ill-use the African women for profits. As Morgan first explains in her book, these white men usually created impressions based on the physical appearance that a person upheld. However, regarding the African women, it seemed to be very contradictory. While these men viewed the African women’s’ body as “ desirable and repulsive”(15-16), it was also “ productive and reproductive, beautiful and black” (15-16). I found this point extremely disturbing, it is vey rare to describe someone based on his or her reproductive capabilities. Yet, these women were trapped with the impression that having curves meant they were able to undertake reproductive labors better than white …show more content…
However, these women, whether they were involved in relationships with other slaves or not, were forced to bare their fertile abilities with other men for the slave owners selfish gain. While Jennifer Morgan presents many arguments, I believe an extreme brutality these women faced was having sex to reproduce so their slave owners would gain a profit. It is disgusting to force any women, of any color to expose herself and undergo the torturous pain of labor to deliver a child out of wedlock and rape. These men forced these women to give birth to children that they would never see again, or from men that had sexually abused them and forcefully inseminated them. While the image is very graphic is the ugly truth. In chapter 2, Morgan further explains the experience from the African women using evidence left behind by the slave-owners, and traders (59). These African women were forced out of their home, mostly from areas in West Africa, and placed on plantations to do unthinkable work. While men were also victims of this terrible cruelty, Morgan found that it was of more value to gift and fertile African women to a slave owner than an African man. I found it extremely important to find out the sources of Morgan’s findings because she powerfully exemplifies the inconceivable abuse these women dealt with because of their black curvy bodies. Morgan obtained her information from clues left behind from slave-owners and traders,
Slavery is a term that can create a whirlwind of emotions for everyone. During the hardships faced by the African Americans, hundreds of accounts were documented. Harriet Jacobs, Charles Ball and Kate Drumgoold each shared their perspectives of being caught up in the world of slavery. There were reoccurring themes throughout the books as well as varying angles that each author either left out or never experienced. Taking two women’s views as well as a man’s, we can begin to delve deeper into what their everyday lives would have been like. Charles Ball’s Fifty Years in Chains and Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl were both published in the early 1860’s while Kate Drumgoold’s A Slave Girl’s Story came almost forty years later
The title of this book comes from the inspiring words spoken by Sojourner Truth at the 1851, nine years prior to the Civil War at a Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. In Deborah Grays White, Ar’n’t I a woman her aim was to enrich the knowledge of antebellum black women and culture to show an unwritten side of history of the American black woman. Being an African- American and being a woman, these are the two principle struggles thrown at the black woman during and after slavery in the United States. Efforts were made by White scholars in 1985 to have a focus on the female slave experience. Deborah Gray White explains her view by categorizing the hardships and interactions between the female slave and the environment in which the slave was born. She starts with the mythology of the female slave by using mythologies such as Jezebel or Mammy, a picture that was painted of false images created by whites in the south. She then moves to differences between male and female slavery the harsh life cycle, the created network among the female community, customs for slave families and the trip from slavery to freedom, as well as differences between the female slave and the white woman, showing that there is more history than myth. (White, 5) Thus, bringing forth the light to the hardships and harassment that the black woman faced in the Antebellum South.
The narratives were written by African Americans, but read overwhelmingly by white audiences and in these narratives there is evidence that show Bibb, Northup, and Jacobs had their white audience in their mind while creating their stories. In Henry Bibb 's passage he states that "Both parties are caught in the act by a white person, the slave is punished with the lash, while the white man is often punished with both lynched and common law," (209). "The slave holders are generally rich, artistic, overbearing; and they look with utter contempt upon a poor laboring man, who earns his bread by the "sweat of his brow," whether he be moral or immoral, honest or dishonest," (209). In these sentences Bibb 's had his mind on the white audience due to the way he was describing the slaveholders and how a white person was not punished with lashes. Solomon Northup "He fears he will be caught lagging through the day; he fears to approach the gin-house with his basket-load of cotton at night; he fears, when he lies down, that he will oversleep himself in the morning," (215). Northup wanted to describe to the white audience how slaves and himself were scared for there lives everyday being a slave while working for their masters, and how much pain the master 's caused slaves. In Harriet Jacobs passaged she says "O, what days and nights of fear and sorrow that man caused me! Reader, it is not to awaken sympathy for myself that I am telling you truthfully what I suffered in slavery. I do
It is well known that slavery was a horrible event in the history of the United States. However, what isn't as well known is the actual severity of slavery. The experiences of slave women presented by Angela Davis and the theories of black women presented by Patricia Hill Collins are evident in the life of Harriet Jacobs and show the severity of slavery for black women.
The three quotations demonstrate how slavery has been understood differently by different people and it those who view it through the lens of white supremacy that produces the experiences like those of Mary Prince and Harriet Jacobs. Although narratives like Mary Prince’s were written as propaganda to reveal the brutal torture and inhuman conditions slaves experience under their cruel masters, slave owners like Harriet Jacob’s mother’s mistress and Mrs. Williams, Mary Prince’s owner as a child, demonstrate that some slaves were treated as mere labour workers in the household. In the first text, Jacobs is reminiscing her life under her mother’s mistress’s ownership. She recalls that upon her mother’s death, her mother’s mistress promised that
The rape of the female slaves, was described by the writer as an almost normal occurrence in the ship as the article Black Holocaust For Beginners “Death Ships” states “…we hear African screams and white men’s laughter. To the women, to the girl, we KNOW. Many of us have been in the Enemy’s presence now for four to six months and we know that rape is always a grab away…” Later in the article it put the reader in as the rape victim who, get raped by the first mate. The rape described in the article was more violent than the rape we now know.
The practice of slavery for men and women both presented equally sufferings. However, the white planation owners or overseers routinely raped women during this time. Women regularly had their children stripped away from them and sold into slavery. However, ironica...
Sexual assault from the male slave owners and harassment from the female slave owners was commonplace. Many slave girls would start to be harassed and sexually assaulted around the young age of only 15, “But I had now entered my 15th year – a sad epoch in the life of a slave girl. My master began to whisper foul words into my ear” (26 Jacobs). This clearly shows that not only did female slaves have to deal with these kinds of harsh conditions; they had to begin to cope with these circumstances at a very young age. Throughout the novel Jacobs demonstrates the inner strength that these young girls had to develop to deal with their day-to-day
Harriet Jacobs’ narrative is a powerful statement unveiling the impossibility and undesirability of achieving the ideal put forth by men and maintained by women. Jacobs directs her account of the afflictions a woman is subjected to in the chain of slavery to women of the north to gain sympathy for their sisters that were enslaved in the south. In showing this, Jacobs reveals the danger of such self disapprobation women maintained by accepting the idealized role that men have set a goal for which to strive. She suggests that slave women be judged by different standards than those applied to other women. Jacobs develops a moral code that apprises the specific social and historical position of captive black women. Jacobs’ will power and strength shown in her narrative are characteristics of womanly behavior being developed by the emerging feminist movement.
In Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, the author subjects the reader to a dystopian slave narrative based on a true story of a woman’s struggle for self-identity, self-preservation and freedom. This non-fictional personal account chronicles the journey of Harriet Jacobs (1813-1897) life of servitude and degradation in the state of North Carolina to the shackle-free promise land of liberty in the North. The reoccurring theme throughout that I strive to exploit is how the women’s sphere, known as the Cult of True Womanhood (Domesticity), is a corrupt concept that is full of white bias and privilege that has been compromised by the harsh oppression of slavery’s racial barrier. Women and the female race are falling for man’s
Harriet Jacobs and Fredrick Douglass are both very incredible and powerful writers who narrated their enslavement encounters in a passionate and compelling manner. Jacob’s narrative describes the abuses she had to go through personally especially because of her gender. She describes how the women slaves were exploited not only for their productive capabilities but reproductive ones as well. This is why she remarked, “Slavery is terrible for men but is far more terrible for women”. This is a clear indication that in addition to being enslaved, Jacob’s had to overcome the hurdle of being a female as well.
In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, by Frederick Douglass, all of the various women who appeared in Douglass’ life were reduced to little more than caricatures of the violence that could be inflicted upon slaves. This is not necessarily the fault of the author, but of the institution of slavery, layered with the historical inequality of men and women of all races and classes. The victimization of female slaves was a horrible issue in history, and it is illuminated in the pages of the Narrative. However, the issues specifically pertaining to female slaves are too often glossed over in favor of the much broader topic of abolition.
In Harriet Jacobs’ autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, personal accounts that detail the ins-and-outs of the system of slavery show readers truly how monstrous and oppressive slavery is. Families are torn apart, lives are ruined, and slaves are tortured both physically and mentally. The white slaveholders of the South manipulate and take advantage of their slaves at every possible occasion. Nothing is left untouched by the gnarled claws of slavery: even God and religion become tainted. As Jacobs’ account reveals, whites control the religious institutions of the South, and in doing so, forge religion as a tool used to perpetuate slavery, the very system it ought to condemn. The irony exposed in Jacobs’ writings serves to show
First, I will look at the enslavement of Africans in the New World. During this period women of African descent were raped and abused. They were deemed as sexual beings and were used not only as producers but also as reproducers, to replenish the enslaved population. This latter role was also perpetuated through the rape of enslaved African women by their white slave masters. Thus, the health of these women was negated for the welfare of the plantation system. This system was justified by scientific racism and my essay will show how Europeans came to the conclusion that this was morally permissible. I will also explore how this has affected the idea of motherhood, showing the eurocentric view of African motherhood and contrast this with
When we study about the history of slavery, we often talk about the black men and the white men. But what we forget is the role of women. History books mainly reflect the involvement of men. The abolitionists, the slave traders and the enslaved. In portrayal of enslaved people, men appear more frequently. In the movie Amistad it is told from the point of view of Cinque; in the TV series Roots it follows Kunta Kinte. This male dominated history fails to acknowledge, belittles and devalues the role of women at all levels of slavery. What about the female slave traders, slave owners, enslaved females, female rebels and abolitionists? Are they really invisible? This paper takes into consideration the work done by black and white women.