Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph

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Contents

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p. ix

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xvi

As this book suggests, history plays an important role in maintaining families, and families play an equally important role in maintaining history. Bringing the Folks family into focus would not have been possible without the early lessons imparted by my maternal grandmother, Catherine Carter Dean. She taught me the importance of preserving one’s...

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Prologue: The Ghosts of Slavery

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p. xvi

Charity Folks is a ghost of slavery who refuses to be silenced. She finds herself in the company of Margaret Garner’s beloved daughter; the young girl known only as “Celia, a slave”; Sara Baartman; Sally Hemings; Sojourner Truth; Queen Nannie; and countless unnamed women who haunt historical memory because they carry the weight of the African diaspora’s traumatic...

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Introduction: Moving Freedom, Shaping Slavery: Enslaved Women in Charity Folks’s Maryland

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pp. 1-13

This book draws its inspiration from the life of Charity Folks, an enslaved woman from Annapolis, Maryland, but it is more than a biography. It uses the fragmented archive of Charity Folks’s life as a window into the ways in which slavery, freedom, and liberation intertwined in African American women’s experiences. In particular, it explores how enslaved...

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CHAPTER 1 Reproduction and Motherhood in Slavery, 1757–1830

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pp. 14-26

Motherhood under slavery was the farthest thing from freedom. During the late eighteenth century, the power of mothering came to the forefront in the form of the moral mother. The moral mother was white, privileged, and dedicated to instructing her children about how to be productive citizens. In this role, white women suffered from gender oppression, as their day...

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CHAPTER 2 Beyond Charity: Petitions for Freedom and the Black Woman’s Body Politic, 1780–1858

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pp. 27-40

Enslaved women were keenly aware that freedom, like slavery, was tied to their reproductive labor. Regardless of the constraints and violence, enslaved women envisioned a life that included family. For that reason, their visions of freedom were deeply related to their identity as mothers, meaning that...

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CHAPTER 3 Commodities and Kin: Gender and Family Networking for Freedom, 1780–1860

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pp. 41-52

Enslaved women and their descendants used creative legal strategies and whatever means they had to pursue freedom, thereby demonstrating the value they placed on freedom as well as their commitment to that ideal. According to Orlando Patterson, enslavement was a form of social death, and freedom (and by extension manumission) was life.1 Patterson suggests th...

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CHAPTER 4 Moving Slavery, Shaping Freedom: Households and the Gendering of Poverty in the Nineteenth Century

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pp. 53-66

Manumitted women fortified their family networks in freedom and pushed against slavery by competing in and sometimes thriving in a free wage economy. Drawing on Marylyn C. Wesley’s notion that the endpoint of freedom is to be realized in a new location, this chapter focuses on the space of the household.1 Freedom, like the composition of free black households, was multifaceted, including multiple generations of the same family...

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CONCLUSION: Memorials and Reparations by the Living

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pp. 67-72

Charity Folks anticipated being lost to history. In her final years, she often felt displaced and feared being “turned out of doors.” She obsessively searched for something lost, and “half of the time she did not know what she was after.” Family members and neighbors described her as “deranged.”1 Given her age, her poor health, and the trauma of her past, it is probably not...

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Epilogue

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pp. 73-74

When I submitted this manuscript to the press, I felt unsettled. The book was finished but not complete. I felt compelled (in truth, guided) to find and meet Liberty Rashad, the granddaughter of the Reverend Shelton Hale Bishop and the daughter of Dr. Elizabeth Bishop Davis Trussell. I learned of Liberty’s existence from Gail Silver of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church and contacted Liberty with the assistance of Vanderbilt University historian...

Notes

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pp. 75-94

Bibliography

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pp. 95-118

Index

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pp. 119-130

Other Works in the Series

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pp. 131-132

Image Plates

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pp. 133-136