Women in Slavery

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When somebody reflects the hardships of slavery, they typically think solely of the treatment towards African Americans. What most people are not aware of is how women were treated, whether they were of color or not. In Harriet Jacobs book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, she explains “Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women. Superadded to the burden common to all, they have wrongs, and sufferings, and mortifications peculiarly their own.” The cruel treatment towards female slaves and the struggles held by Southern women during the Civil war are disregarded by the majority of people today, even though it is a significant part of American history and still affects society. Slaveholders would often rape and impregnate their slave women, and then never let the women care for their mixed children. Actions like this contribute to prostitution today, yet people still do not consider prostitution a form of slavery. These truths are tangible today due to African American authors Susie King Taylor and Kate Stone. Thankfully, white abolitionist women such as Ida B. Wells and Mary Chesnut were around to stand up for slaves and women.
Though life was incredibly tragic for the majority of colored women, there are a few who were fortunate enough to get an education, gain freedom, or be born a free black. Unfortunately, those people are the only African Americans who had the ability to record their lives through writing, for others were unable to do so because of their illiteracy. Susie King Taylor’s story is a perfect example of this. In her book, A Black Woman’s Civil War Memoirs, she narrates her life being born into slavery and eventually gaining freedom. She was born in 1848 on an island off the co...

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...that there are only a few people aware of the treatment of women slaves. The responsibilities of white women are also overlooked, for most people believe they had it easy. People forget that women lacked civil rights in the same way that slaves did. It was extremely dangerous for abolitionists, especially as women, to help slaves read, write, and become free. Women still fight for equal rights, and blacks still deal with racism on a day-to-day basis. Some say slavery of women still exists, but it is referred to as prostitution. To this day, women are held as sex slaves, maids, and cooks. Human trafficking is still a major issue and generally involves women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, known for her contributions to women’s suffrage in the 19th century, left the world with some words of wisdom, “The prolonged slavery of women is the darkest page in human history.”
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