"Sisters in Arms": Slave Women's Resistance to Slavery in the United States

Amrita Chakrabarti Myers

Abstract


This paper examines the gendered nature of slave resistance in the nineteenth-century United States and illustrates the ways in which both gender and race shaped the institution of slavery. This examination is based on a collection of ex-slave oral interviews which were gathered in the 1930s in the Slave Narrative Collection of the Federal Writer's Project of the Works Progress Administration. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data reveal that slave women defended their own needs as slaves and challenged the system itself. The analysis broadens the traditional definition of resistance," and illustrates the ways in which slave women carried out their day-to-day resistance to an oppressive system of servitude. Without women, slave resistance could not have been so throughly entwined into the fabric of everyday life as under slavery.

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