Enslaved Women and the Art of Resistance in Antebellum America

Hardcover | September 15, 2009

byRenee K. Harrison

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The historical records and stories of enslaved African women have both creative and life-affirming resistance strategies for how women of the past have dealt with and healed from violence. This book draws on mid-seventeenth to nineteenth-century slave narratives to describe the depths of multi-dimensional oppression and violence in the lives of enslaved African women. Harrison investigates pre-colonial West and West Central African women’s lives prior to European arrival in order to recover those African-derived aesthetic forms, cultural traditions, and religious practices that helped enslaved women combat violence and oppression. The nine strategies of resistance offered as modes of resistance employed by enslaved women are viable modes for modern-day women.

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The historical records and stories of enslaved African women have both creative and life-affirming resistance strategies for how women of the past have dealt with and healed from violence. This book draws on mid-seventeenth to nineteenth-century slave narratives to describe the depths of multi-dimensional oppression and violence in the...

Renee K. Harrison is Assistant Professor of African American Religious Practices and Culture. She received her Ph.D. at Emory University in the Department of Religion in the interdisciplinary area of Persons, Community, and Religious Practices with a focus on West African & African American Religious Practices and Culture, and Black F...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.67 × 5.7 × 0.93 inPublished:September 15, 2009Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230618464

ISBN - 13:9780230618466

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Table of Contents

Preface: Ancestral Scratchings * Introduction: Ancestral Vibrations * PART I: PRECOLONIAL WEST AFRICA: CONTEXT AND PERSPECTIVES * “Dey fooled dem to come”: Seduction and Trickery in the African Slave Trade * “Before the Arrival of the Good Ship Jesus”: African Women in Precolonial West Africa * PART II: HISTORICAL GROTESQUE REALITIES * “Trouble Done Bore Me Down”: Intimate Violence against Enslaved Women * Enslaved Women and Domestic Violence: “Dey wuked me lak a dog an’ beat me somepin terrible” *  “Dat man grabbed me an’ strip me naked”: Enslaved Women and Sexual Violence * “In the Company of My Sisters”: Violence among Women in the American Colonies * Enslaved Women and Sisterhood Violence: “Misses would beat and stomp away, with all the venom of a demon” *  Enslaved Women and Sistah-hood Violence: “That woman was simply mean” * “Fix Me Jesus”: Enslaved Women and Self-Violence * PART III YEARNING FOR THE BEAUTIFUL * “However Far the Stream Flows It Never Forgets Its Source”: Five Strategies of Subversion and Freedom * “The Current Continues”: Four More Strategies of Subversion and Freedom

Editorial Reviews

“An excellent and refreshing contribution to studies about the cultural and social sources of violence. This comprehensive book should be read by everyone concerned about the prevalence of violence and the need for healing in our world today.”--Delores S. Williams, Author of Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk"An ambitious historical excavation of the violence and religion of U.S. slavery! With unflinching honesty Harrison presents a wide range of stories about the brutality black women slaves experienced and creatively organizes those stories within unique, womanist frameworks."--Traci C. West, Author of Disruptive Christian Ethics: When Racism and Women's Lives Matter“Harrison ‘done gone and started something now!’ With this searing, soaring, and majestic work she has created an intellectual and spiritual clearing and invited our ancestral forebears to speak…This book deeply reaches and teaches us in places beyond words. The heretofore unsung witness of our ancestors, our mothers, bids us enter into healthy and life-affirming streams in our own day and time. Ashé!”--Alton B. Pollard, Dean and Professor of Religion and Culture, Howard University School of Divinity“This book is timely for a public hungry for fresh perspectives on race, violence, and healing…Crafted in poetic prose, the book offers full-bodied scholarship, original interpretations of violence and resistance, and daring proposals for action. It deserves to be widely read.”--Mary Elizabeth Moore, Dean and Professor of Theology and Education, Boston University School of Theology“Scholarly, Harrison captures the rhythmic moral, beauty, and power of black women’s protest tradition of the slave era. She does this without romanticizing the aesthetic and moral flaws of either black victims or white victimizers.”--Riggins R. Earl, Jr., Professor of Social Ethics, Interdenominational Theological Center