Female Slaves In The Plantation South Essay

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Deborah Gray White, author of Ar’n’t I a Woman? Female Slaves in the Plantation South, courageously plunges into the research and understanding of the slave experience through race and gender. The overall slave experience of the antebellum South is often represented by the male experience. For the first time, White brings forth an understanding of slave life through the female lens. White reasons that the female slave experience differed from the male slave experience due to the assigned gender roles. In addition to gender roles, White introduces a double consciousness of the black woman by identifying their struggle to escape restraints placed on both the slave and the woman. White supports this claim when she declares,“ If she [the black …show more content…
An aspect of double consciousness is presented when White states, “… black women often worked with black men at tasks considered by most white Americans to be either too difficult or inappropriate for females.” White complicates field labor of women when she incorporates the necessity for bondwomen to reproduce. The black mother was the center point for the continuance of slavery. In 1807, the importation of slaves to the colonies was banned, causing a dependency on the slave woman to reproduce. During early stages of pregnancy, women continued to have assigned fieldwork tasks before being assigned to less herculean labor. Plantation fields were not proper working environments for women exhausted by reproduction, an action the black male would never personally …show more content…
In addition to completing market errands for the master, enslaved craftsmen, such as blacksmiths, would have the opportunity to sell generated products at the market for partial remuneration. Opportunities for bondwomen to travel to the market were fewer than opportunities allotted for bondmen. White reinforces limited mobility placed on bondwomen when she writes,“ More male than female slaves were artisans and craftsmen, and this made it more difficult to hire out a female slave than a male slave.” Passages to the market provided bondmen with an advantage to learn the terrain outside of the plantation, providing more knowledge and skillset to escape slavery. To cope with the restrictions of the slave lifestyle, White reveals tactics used by bondwomen to “escape” slavery when she writes, “Truancy seems to have been the way many slave women reconciled their desire to flee and their need to stay.” Female slaves, unlike male slaves, were confined to the plantation and held a greater responsibility to care for their

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