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Title:"What I Did Is Who I Am": African American Women and Resistance to Slavery in Colonial and Revolutionary New England
Author(s):Adams, Catherine Johnson
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pleck, Elizabeth H.
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:From her arrival in New England beginning in the 1630's, the enslaved African woman possessed a "self-conscious" identity that was both individual and collective. My dissertation uncovers acts of resistance and strategies of survival that enslaved New England women used to fashion an identity which enabled them to cope with and sometimes to mitigate the effects of racial prejudice, gender inequality, sexual and labor exploitation, and economic and political disempowerment. Other histories have defined resistance as the opposite of accommodation. I examine the lives of New England's enslaved women and discuss their varied strategies of survival. Some of these strategies have been classified by others as accommodation or resistance. While I accept other historians' emphasis on slave resistance---sexual resistance, working slower, theft, running away, suing for freedom---I incorporate memory, self-definition of identity, and use of Christianity as strategies of survival. What has been read as accommodation should be understood as choices, decisions made within a particular context. My research methodology is grounded in close readings of traditional social history sources---vital statistics, probate records, and periodicals. I integrate these with literary sources---diaries, slave narratives, poetry, and prose. I also study the biographies of several early African American women and recreate biographies of others whose life story has not been recounted. In so doing, I explore survival strategies as they emerge and develop over the entire life span. This project makes a contribution to early American women's history and to the history of enslaved Africans in the pre-Antebellum North.
Issue Date:2004
Description:208 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3153231
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2004

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