Til Death Or Distance Do Us Part: Love and Marriage in African America

Paperback | August 15, 2014

byFrances Smith Foster

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Conventional wisdom tells us that marriage was illegal for African Americans during the antebellum era, and that if people married at all, their vows were tenuous ones: "until death or distance do us part." It is an impression that imbues beliefs about black families to this day. But it's aperception primarily based on documents produced by abolitionists, the state, or other partisans. It doesn't tell the whole story.Drawing on a trove of less well-known sources including family histories, folk stories, memoirs, sermons, and especially the fascinating writings from the Afro-Protestant Press,'Til Death or Distance Do Us Part offers a radically different perspective on antebellum love and family life.Frances Smith Foster applies the knowledge she's developed over a lifetime of reading and thinking. Advocating both the potency of skepticism and the importance of story-telling, her book shows the way toward a more genuine, more affirmative understanding of African American romance, both then andnow.

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Conventional wisdom tells us that marriage was illegal for African Americans during the antebellum era, and that if people married at all, their vows were tenuous ones: "until death or distance do us part." It is an impression that imbues beliefs about black families to this day. But it's aperception primarily based on documents produc...

Frances Smith Foster is Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Women's Studies (Emeritus) at Emory University. Her previous books include Written By Herself: Literary Production by African American Women, 1746-1892 (Indiana UP, 1993), Witnessing Slavery: The Development of the Ante-Bellum Slave Narrative (Greenwood, 1979), an...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:220 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:August 15, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199389705

ISBN - 13:9780199389704

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Table of Contents

1. Preface2. Adam and Eve, Antony and Isabella3. Terms of Endearment4. Practical Thoughts, Divine Mandates, and the Afro-Protestant Press5. Rights and Rituals6. Myths, Memory, and Self-Realization7. Getting Stories Straight, Keeping Them Real8. Alchemy of Personal PoliticsEpilogue