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Poor white women had a particularly challenging experience in antebellum Savannah since they were female in a patriarchal society and poor members of the ‘superior race’ that had numerous legal and social advantages. This articles explores the multiple ingenious survival strategies adopted by poor white women in Savannah, including marriage, employment, crime and charity. It ultimately argues that poor white women exploited their racial privileges to the full by taking advantage of legal loopholes and lax law enforcement to earn money, while at the same time earning the sympathy and financial support of elite white men and women via benevolent organisations. Poor white women were able to survive in slave societies because they had significant racial privileges that could not be denied.