Mistresses and Slaves: Plantation Women in South Carolina, 1830-80

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University of Illinois Press, 1997 - History - 308 pages
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Marli Weiner challenges much of the received wisdom on the domestic realm of the nineteenth-century southern plantation - a worked in which white mistresses and female slaves labored together to provide food, clothing, and medicines to the larger plantation community. Although divided by race, black and white women were joined by common female experiences and expectations of behavior. Because work and gender affected them as much as race, mistresses and female slaves interacted with one another very differently from the ways they interacted with men.
Supported by the women's own words, Weiner offers fresh interpretations of the ideology of domesticity that influenced women's race relations before the Civil War, the gradual manner in which they changed during the war, and the harsher behaviors that resulted during Reconstruction.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Womens Work
5
The Work Lives of Plantation Slave Women
7
The Work Lives of Plantation Mistresses
23
Expectations and Interactions
51
Expectations for White Womanhood
53
Plantation Mistresses Behavior toward Slave Women
72
Plantation Mistresses Attitudes toward Slavery
89
Slave Women and the Meaning of Womanhood
130
The War and Its Aftermath
155
The Experience of War
157
The Transition to Freedom
185
Toward the Future
207
Notes
235
Index
293
Copyright

Slave Women Confront the Ideology of Domesticity
113

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About the author (1997)

Marli F. Weiner is an associate professor of history at the University of Maine.

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