Braided Relations, Entwined Lives

Braided Relations, Entwined Lives

The Women of Charleston's Urban Slave Society
Cynthia M. Kennedy
Distribution: World
Publication date: 11/1/2005
ISBN: 978-0-253-11146-3
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“[A] stunning, deeply researched, and gracefully written social history.” —Leslie Schwalm, University of Iowa

This study of women in antebellum Charleston, South Carolina, looks at the roles of women in an urban slave society. Cynthia M. Kennedy takes up issues of gender, race, condition (slave or free), and class and examines the ways each contributed to conveying and replicating power. She analyses what it meant to be a woman in a world where historically specific social classifications determined personal destiny and where at the same time people of color and white people mingled daily. Kennedy’s study examines the lives of the women of Charleston and the variety of their attempts to negotiate the web of social relations that ensnared them.

Author Bio

Cynthia M. Kennedy is Associate Professor of History at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, specializing in the history of slavery and U.S. women’s history.


". . . Kennedy . . . has written a detailed, nuanced study of the lives of women—white and black, free and unfree—in Colonial and antebellum Charleston. . . . [She] draws upon the now expansive body of scholarship on Southern women's history and the history of slavery and concentrates on the unique urban setting of Charleston to illuminate new dimensions of women's history. . . . Recommended." —Choice

"[A] stunning, deeply researched, and gracefully written social history." —Leslie Schwalm, University of Iowa

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Table of Contents


Part I. The Place, the War, the First Reconstruction
1. The Place and the People
2. Disorder and Chaos of War
3. Rebuilding and Resisting
Part II. Defining Women, Defining Their Braided Relations
4. Marriage and Cohabitation within the Aristocratic Paradigm: Wealthy White Women and the Free Brown Elite
5. Marriage and Cohabitation outside the Aristocratic Paradigm: Slaves and Free Laboring Women
6. Mixing and Admixtures
7. Work and Workers
8. Leisure and Recreation
9. Women and the Law
10. Illness and Death

Appendix 1. Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Applications
Appendix 2. South Carolina Court System and the Case Universe