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

By Cynthia M. Kennedy

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

This learn of girls in antebellum Charleston, South Carolina, appears to be like 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 each one contributed to conveying and replicating energy. She analyses what it intended to be a lady in an international the place traditionally particular social classifications decided 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 net of social relatives that ensnared them.

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

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Their disparate realities simultaneously differentiated, de¤ned, and connected these two groups of women. Like most of the city’s free people of color, Revolutionary-era brown elite women labored as artisans and tradespeople. And like most laboring women of all colors, they lived modestly, often in the upper stories of wood or brick structures, the ground ®oors of which they turned into shops. Other women of color—the wives of tanners, butchers, tallow chandlers, dairymen, or wood factors—lived on the fringes of the rapidly expanding city because their husbands’ occupations posed a ¤re hazard, produced noxious odors, or simply required more space than compact city quarters provided.

One historian has argued that Stono fundamentally altered slave demography in the low country by slowing slave imports. ”22 Finally, six months later, Charleston’s most destructive ¤re, fanned by a strong sea breeze, burned for four hours and demolished some three hundred houses in addition to stores, wharves, and enormous quantities of goods. No evidence emerged to prove a suspected act of arson by slaves. Nevertheless, many city residents considered this fact almost immaterial, convinced as they were that slaves had set the ¤re.

Family loyalties (to crown or colony) and wartime activities of male kin also determined how the Revolution transformed women’s lives. Few, however, remained untouched by war’s attendants: dislocation, violence, destruction, and death. The Revolution widowed huge numbers of people and enraged and embittered many women. In these ways the war bequeathed a devastating emotional legacy. In South Carolina, the war unfolded in four phases. After an early patriot victory in summer 1776 at Sullivan’s Island (preceded by rumors about British incitement of slave and Indian rebellions), three additional stages of the war ensued: a period of intense suppression of loyalists; this was followed by British invasion of the low country in late 1778, capped by the conquest and occupation of Charleston in spring 1780; and ¤nally, the British defeat and evacuation from the city in December 1782.

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