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Title:Dropped "from the clouds": Cincinnati and manumission among the fancy and newly freed, 1831-1901
Author(s):Green, Sharony
Director of Research:Roediger, David R.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Roediger, David R.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Espiritu, Augusto F.; Lang, Clarence E.; Levine, Bruce
Department / Program:History
Discipline:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):fancy girls
Ballard, Rice
Franklin, Isaac
pillow talk
Cincinnati
Ohio
manumission
freedom
Underground Railroad
family
love
African Americans
antebellum
domestic slave trading
White, Avenia
Green, Sharony Andrews
mulatto
women
gender
slavery
Virginia
planter
cotton
Kentucky
Cabois, Louise
Scott, James
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Abstract:This dissertation argues that numerous ex-slave mistresses and the children they produced with white men thoughtfully rebuilt their lives as newly freed people by capitalizing on earlier, sometimes ongoing, ties to white men, but also by relying on themselves and others sharing their circumstances. Some such women appear to have been “fancy girls,” the brand name for enslaved women and girls sold for use as prostitutes and concubines during the slavery era of United States history. Relying greatly on letters from ex-slaves and an ex-slave narrative, this study pays close attention to the ways in which some such women were highly valued in the slave market because of their fair complexion, but shifts attention to their experiences outside the market, specifically to their lives as “favored” ex-slaves. It does so by focusing on the migration of such ex-slaves from the Deep South to Cincinnati, a city that had the highest population of mulattoes outside the South before the Civil War. This migration occurred during the rising surveillance of people of African descent in the South during the 1830s and the concurrent rise of cotton as a premier crop, two factors that figured greatly into elite white men’s unwillingness to have their relations with women of African descent scrutinized at the community level. Ultimately, this dissertation seeks to shed light on black-white intimacies and the ways in which Southern white men were hidden actors in antebellum black urban histories. It also hopes to reveal the degree to which focusing on a select slave expands our understanding of how oppressed bodies fit into both political and social histories because of their ability to draw upon the social capital that accrued from their connections to whites in authoritative positions.
Issue Date:2013-05-28
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/44798
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Sharony Green
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-28
2015-05-28
Date Deposited:2013-05


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