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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 0 75 Montgomery. Fort Bowyer was indeed named for Colonel John Bowyer, but Bowyer was the colonel of the Second United States Infantry and not of the militia. The construction of Fort Montgomery began in the late spring or early summer of 1814, not 1813, by the Thirty-ninth Infantry under the command of Thomas Hart Benton. It was named for Major Lemuel Montgomery who died at Horseshoe Bend. The post continued to be used after the war. In targeting a general audience, Bunn and Williams have done a creditable job. As the Bicentennial of the Creek War and the War of 1812 approaches , the historic community needs as many allies as possible to help with commemoration of the people, places, and events that reshaped the Old Southwest. This volume will aid in educating the general public and enhancing awareness of period. JAMES W. PARKER Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson Park Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household. By Thavolia Glymph. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. xiii, 279 pp. $35.00 (cloth). ISBN 978-0-521-87901-9. $24.99 (paper). ISBN 978-0-521-70398-7. In Out of the House of Bondage, Thavolia Glymph ambitiously reconceptualizes race and gender relations between elite white women and enslaved black women in the plantation household in the years before the Civil War and in the post-emancipation South. The specific transformation Glymph examines is how elite white women and black women, once tied together by the institution of slavery, built new relations on the “ground of freedom” (p. 1). At the center of Glymph’s account are the violence and power relations between women in “the great house,” an arena she contends has been neglected by historians because these recurring acts of aggression took place within “a supposed private realm” (pp. 2–3). While the transformation of the plantation household involved a small number of white and black women, Glymph argues that this process had implications for larger political and social changes in the postemancipation South. Glymph begins by analyzing “the treatment of women and slavery in the feminist historiography of the American South,” arguing that in assessing social relations between these women, revisionist scholarship has failed to examine the violence inflicted on slave women (p. 20). Glymph contends that most gender analysis to date has obscured as much as it T H E A L A B A M A R E V I E W 76 has revealed about the nature of social relations between black and white women. Rejecting the view in the southern women’s historiography that plantation mistresses were “a silent abolitionist constituency” or “allies of slaves and slave women,” Glymph maintains that southern white women ruled the plantation household with the threat of violence (p. 3). Glymph goes on to examine “the female face of slaveholding power,” illuminating the violence elite white women inflicted on the enslaved women working in their homes (p. 5). She argues that these white women had tremendous agency within the household and thus played a central role in the construction of racial hegemony and slave management. The enslaved women, however, were not powerless. Realizing that their owners’ status and reputation depended on their labor, black women protected themselves by gossiping about their mistresses’ violent, unladylike , or sadistic behavior. Of particular importance is Glymph’s larger point that the fine distinction between “domestic life and civilized life” was tied to the larger project of nation-building (p. 64). Relations between the plantation mistress and black women experienced dramatic changes during the Civil War. In the early years of the war, black women fled the plantation household because of the violence they had suffered at the hands of their mistresses, but their retreat also had a complex effect on white women’s ability to uphold their place in society. Emancipation threw open the doors of the plantation household and upset the social distance that once separated black women and the white women who owned them. White women suddenly had to learn to do their own housework or bend to newly freed black women’s conception...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-9961
Print ISSN
0002-4341
Pages
pp. 75-77
Launched on MUSE
2012-07-11
Open Access
No
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