Braided Relations, Entwined Lives: The Women of Charleston's by Cynthia M. Kennedy

By Cynthia M. Kennedy

"[A] gorgeous, deeply researched, and gracefully written social history." ―Leslie Schwalm, collage of Iowa

This examine of girls in antebellum Charleston, South Carolina, seems on the roles of ladies in an city slave society. Cynthia M. Kennedy takes up problems with gender, race, situation (slave or free), and sophistication and examines the methods every one contributed to conveying and replicating strength. She analyses what it intended to be a girl in a global the place traditionally particular social classifications made up our minds own future and the place even as humans of colour and white humans mingled day-by-day. Kennedy’s examine examines the lives of the ladies of Charleston and the range in their makes an attempt to barter the internet of social relatives that ensnared them.

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Extra info for Braided Relations, Entwined Lives: The Women of Charleston's Urban Slave Society

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The creation of new, con®icting images and notions of women—whether selfstyled or imposed by others—constituted a crucial part of this gendered task of postwar social reconstruction. De¤ning “woman” was integral to the individual and social work of bringing order to a city destabilized by economic, demographic, and democratic revolution. But there were limits to the changes wrought by war. Patriarchy and slavery survived the ¤ghting. 1 The war accentuated women’s entwined identities and their mutually dependent social positions.

While some knew “but a little broken English,” other slave women had mastered not only the English language but also French. Ironically, precisely because Charleston afforded economic and social opportunities to enslaved and free people of color, their worlds were also fraught with danger. White laboring people resented competition from skilled pastry chefs, seamstresses, cooks, and washerwomen, and they railed against “a great number of loose, idle and disorderly” market women of color who bought and sold “on their own accounts what they please[d], in order to pay their wages, and [got] as much .

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of slave women from Charleston and the surrounding countryside remained in the city after ®eeing their owners. When women known only as Rose and Amoretta ran from nearby Edisto Island into the city, their owner, much inconvenienced by their absence, attempted to entice them back with a promise to forgive them. On the other hand, one “likely young mulatto wench,” approximately twenty-one years old, had run so many times that her owner declared his intention to sell both her and her three-year-old child.

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