This article examines the women who became involved in Cuba’s slave resistance movements of 1843 and 1844, drawing attention to those who molded that resistance in visible and public ways and those whose involvement has often been obscured or unnoticed. The narratives created around Fermina and Carlota Lucumí, two leading figures in the 1843 insurgencies, both rupture and complicate the masculine discourse around slave-movement leadership that has been central to historiographies of slave rebellion. I analyze the ways that these women became hyper-visible in archival records organized around patriarchal sensibilities of punishment. I also investigate the gendered narratives of betrayal and silence that intersperse the trial records and render illegible—if not wholly erase—the ways that black slave women helped to produce insurgent possibilities. I argue that women who marked themselves as unaligned with the insurgent project reveal some of the intriguing ways that most enslaved people encountered these resistance movements.


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pp. 112-134
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