'Til Death Or Distance Do Us Part: Love and Marriage in African America
Conventional wisdom tells us that marriage was illegal for African Americans during the antebellum era, and that if people married at all, their vows were tenuous ones: "until death or distance do us part." It is an impression that imbues beliefs about black families to this day. But it's a perception primarily based on documents produced by abolitionists, the state, or other partisans. It doesn't tell the whole story. Drawing on a trove of less well-known sources including family histories, folk stories, memoirs, sermons, and especially the fascinating writings from the Afro-Protestant Press,'Til Death or Distance Do Us Part offers a radically different perspective on antebellum love and family life. Frances Smith Foster applies the knowledge she's developed over a lifetime of reading and thinking. Advocating both the potency of skepticism and the importance of story-telling, her book shows the way toward a more genuine, more affirmative understanding of African American romance, both then and now.
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Addie Afri African American print African descent African Union Society Afro-Protestant press Ameri American print culture Anglo-African antebellum African Americans antebellum United behavior believe Bibb’s Black Brer Rabbit Brown Church context couple created death or distance defined early African American Elizabeth Keckley Ellen Craft enslaved Euro-American example fact father Frederick Douglass Free African Union freedom Freedom’s Journal friends gender God’s Haley’s HarrietJacobs Henry Bibb human husband idea interpret Keckley knew learned live love and marriage Lucy Terry Malinda marital married matrimonial Mende Mende Nazer morality mother myths Nellie Y ofAfrican one’s owner Patrick Brown political practice Rebecca relationships religion religious riage rituals Sankofa sexual slave narratives slavery social spouse stories tell til death tion told truth understand vows wanted wedding wife William William Wells Brown wives woman women words writes wrote York