By Prof. Erica Armstrong Dunbar
This e-book is the 1st to chronicle the lives of African American girls within the city north in the course of the early years of the republic. a delicate Freedom investigates how African American ladies in Philadelphia journeyed from enslavement to the precarious prestige of “free folks” within the many years best as much as the Civil warfare and examines similar advancements within the towns of latest York and Boston. Erica Armstrong Dunbar argues that early nineteenth-century Philadelphia, the place such a lot African american citizens have been unfastened, enacted a type of practice session for the nationwide emancipation that within the post–Civil conflict years. She explores the lives of the “regular” girls of antebellum Philadelphia, the unfastened black associations that took root there, and the formerly unrecognized value of African American ladies to the heritage of yank cities. (20090301)
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Extra resources for A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City (Society and the Sexes in the Modern Worl)
Hannah’s husband, Big Bill, most likely gained his freedom when his former owner died, and he could offer refuge to his wife. Free black men could find work of their own and hide a fugitive wife among the growing black population in the city. Several female slaves from the South who fled their masters and headed north to Philadelphia also used their husbands’ status as free men to aid in their escapes. In May 1781 a “Negroe woman named sue, about 45 years of age, [with] a down look, remarkable large breasts, and a wen upon the temple” was also advertised in the Pennsylvania Gazette as a runaway slave from Baltimore.
Unable to participate in hard labor, children were often seen as a financial drain, yet another drawback. The alternative was to hire European indentured servants for three to four years. The short term appealed both to those lacking the initial capital necessary to purchase an African slave and to those who were in search of short-term investments. Aside from the day-to-day responsibilities of caring for slaves or servants, there were taxes imposed on both slaves and servants. In Philadelphia County, masters who owned servants over the age of fifteen were forced to pay a tax of 2s 3d.
The cost of freedom for Priscilla and Charlotte Waters was thirty pounds, fifteen of which Atlee Waters paid in cash in May 1793. The remaining fifteen pounds was to be paid through service offered to Wharton by Waters himself. ”21 Across the North and even in the South, blacks used their free status to negotiate emancipation for family members. On occasion they purchased the freedom of their family members, at other times they supported underground networks to facilitate escape. In Philadelphia free blacks indentured their kinfolk.
A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City (Society and the Sexes in the Modern Worl) by Prof. Erica Armstrong Dunbar