Closer to Freedom

Closer to Freedom

Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South

Book - 2004
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"Recent scholarship on slavery has explored the lives of enslaved people beyond the watchful eye of their masters. Building on this work and the study of space, social relations, gender, and power in the Old South, Stephanie M. H. Camp examines the everyday containment and movement of enslaved men and, especially, enslaved women. In her investigation of the movement of bodies, objects, and information, she extends our recognition of slave resistance into new arenas and reveals an important and hidden culture of opposition."--BOOK JACKET.
Publisher: Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, [2004]
Copyright Date: ©2004
ISBN: 9780807855348
Branch Call Number: History 306.362 Cam


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Jul 16, 2011

Although the book started out as a dissertation and although it seems, at first glance, to be dense and univiting, it's actually a good book. The author focuses on women's experiences as"bondwomen" or slaves. She says that they were often referred to by body parts such as "heads" as if they were cattle. Sometimes the women were called by the tools they used, as in "hoes". The author talks about the various small ways the bondpeople escaped their entrapped lives - by getting away to clandestine nighttime parties in the woods, by managing to make fancy clothes for those parties, by using abolition newspapers and photos as decoration in their cabins, by temporarily running away and hiding for a few days relief, or by trying to escape north. Sometimes the language is a bit pretentious. For example, the author refers often to the "rival geography" meaning the woods where slaves could hide and gather even though on the property of slaveowners. The author also used terms like "spacial illiteracy" to refer to bondwomen's unfamiliarity with the area outside the plantation where they lived. But despite the occasional academic language, the average layperson can easily read this book and learn something about what life was really like for enslaved women.


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