Finding Charity's Folk: Enslaved and Free Black Women in Maryland by Richard NewmanFinding Charity's Folk: Enslaved and Free Black Women in Maryland by Richard Newman

Finding Charity's Folk: Enslaved and Free Black Women in Maryland

EditorRichard Newman

Paperback | December 15, 2015

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Finding Charity’s Folk highlights the experiences of enslaved Maryland women who negotiated for their own freedom, many of whom have been largely lost to historical records. Based on more than fifteen hundred manumission records and numerous manuscript documents from a diversity of archives, Jessica Millward skillfully brings together African American social and gender history to provide a new means of using biography as a historical genre.

Millward opens with a striking discussion about how researching the life of a single enslaved woman, Charity Folks, transforms our understanding of slavery and freedom in Revolutionary America. For African American women such as Folks, freedom, like enslavement, was tied to a bondwoman’s reproductive capacities. Their offspring were used to perpetuate the slave economy. Finding loopholes in the law meant that enslaved women could give birth to and raise free children. For Millward, Folks demonstrates the fluidity of the boundaries between slavery and freedom, which was due largely to the gendered space occupied by enslaved women. The gendering of freedom influenced notions of liberty, equality, and race in what became the new nation and had profound implications for African American women’s future interactions with the state.

JESSICA MILLWARD is an associate professor of history at the University of California, Irvine.
Title:Finding Charity's Folk: Enslaved and Free Black Women in MarylandFormat:PaperbackDimensions:160 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:December 15, 2015Publisher:University Of Georgia PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0820348783

ISBN - 13:9780820348780

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Editorial Reviews

The sense of place is strongly conveyed in Finding Charity's Folk. . . . There is a strong emphasis on the gendered reality of slavery and freedom throughout the book. . . . These connections impart an intimacy between the past and present that is often lacking in historical monographs. . . . Millward argues that freedom, rather than being exclusively an individual act, was communal. - Nicole Ribianszky - Journal of Southern History