We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE
OR
title

Chains of Love

Slave Couples in Antebellum South Carolina

Emily West

Publication Year: 2004

Historians have traditionally neglected relationships between slave men and women during the antebellum period. In Chains of Love, historian Emily West remedies this situation by investigating the social and cultural history of slave relationships in the very heart of the South. _x000B__x000B_Focusing on South Carolina, West deals directly with the most intimate areas of the slave experience including courtship, love and affection between spouses, the abuse of slave women by white men, and the devastating consequences of forced separations. Slaves fought these separations through cross-gender bonding and cross-plantation marriages, illustrating West's thesis about slave marriage as a fierce source of resistance to the oppression of slavery in general. _x000B__x000B_Making expert use of sources such as the Works Progress Administration narratives, slave autobiographies, slave owner records, and church records, this book-length study is the first to focus on the primacy of spousal support as a means for facing oppression. Chains of Love provides telling insights into the nature of the slave family that emerged from these tensions, celebrates its strength, and reveals new dimensions to the slaves' struggle for freedom.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Title Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (16.4 KB)
 

Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (28.8 KB)
 

Table of Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.2 KB)
pp. vii-viii

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF (30.4 KB)
pp. ix-x

Many people have provided me with help of one kind or another during this project, which began as a Ph.D. thesis at the University of Liverpool. First and foremost, I should like to express my gratitude to my dissertation supervisor, Mike Tadman. ...

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (82.7 KB)
pp. 1-18

This book explores intimate areas of the slave experience—relationships between men and women, love and affection between spouses, the abuse of female slaves by whites, the consequences of forced separations, and the overall sense of family among communities held in bondage. ...

read more

1. Courtship and Marriage

pdf iconDownload PDF (111.8 KB)
pp. 19-42

What were the courtship and marriage rituals of antebellum South Carolina slaves, and from where did they originate? What was the nature of slave marital life? Little is known about these aspects of the lives of slaves, since traditional accounts of their social lives (largely written by white owners) tended to misinterpret ...

read more

2. Family Life

pdf iconDownload PDF (159.0 KB)
pp. 43-79

In order to take further the argument that, despite owners, a strong sense of family was the norm among South Carolina slaves, the structure and nature of their families will now be examined. This chapter is concerned with the extent to which two-parent families were common among slaves, ...

read more

3. Work, Gender, and Status

pdf iconDownload PDF (154.1 KB)
pp. 80-115

This chapter focuses on the work that slaves performed for owners and their own families. It also examines the extent to which labor was segregated by gender to assess the implications of work patterns on relationships between enslaved men and women. ...

read more

4. Interracial Sexual Contact

pdf iconDownload PDF (116.5 KB)
pp. 116-140

Chapters 4 and 5 examine the exploitation inflicted upon slaves and the impact of this on male-female relations. Exploitation could take many forms, including physical punishment, sexual abuse, or sale and separation from loved ones. What is significant is that oppression by owners stimulated the slaves’ desire to create social space ...

read more

5. Enforced Separations

pdf iconDownload PDF (82.9 KB)
pp. 141-156

In this extract from his autobiography, Charles Ball poignantly describes being forcibly separated from his wife and children in a chain gang that was headed for South Carolina and Georgia before being sold in Columbia, South Carolina. The impact of forced separations upon slaves was undoubtedly immense, ...

read more

Conclusion

pdf iconDownload PDF (32.8 KB)
pp. 157-160

The fight of slaves to find their missing family members and to legalize their marriages following the ending of the Civil War has been well documented.1 It is likely that they sought to legally validate their partnerships in this way for various reasons, including the fact that it made their relationships acceptable to the law, ...

Appendixes

pdf iconDownload PDF (38.4 KB)
pp. 161-164

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF (80.4 KB)
pp. 165-178

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF (64.3 KB)
pp. 179-184


E-ISBN-13: 9780252092848
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252029035

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2004

Recommend

UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Slaves -- South Carolina -- Social conditions -- 19th century.
  • Slaves -- Family relationships -- South Carolina -- History -- 19th century.
  • Couples -- South Carolina -- History -- 19th century.
  • Man-woman relationships -- South Carolina -- History -- 19th century.
  • Slaves -- South Carolina -- Biography.
  • Slavery -- South Carolina -- History -- 19th century.
  • Plantation life -- South Carolina -- History -- 19th century.
  • South Carolina -- Race relations.
  • South Carolina -- History -- 1775-1865.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access