Monday, September 11, 2017 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm
McGraw Hall, 215
740-750 University Ave, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
What were the lives of African American women like in New England in the 1700s? How were relations of gender, race, and labor entangled under slavery in this period? How might we approach answers to these questions given the "source problem," namely the absence of state and civil archival materials documenting African American women's work? In this talk, I draw on advertisements from colonial newspapers in order to reconstruct a historical narrative of the experiences of enslaved females. My research recovers the experiences of African American women as servile laborers whose work contributed to the development of a thriving colonial economy. Enslaved females were adaptable, highly skilled workers whose market value was determined by their ability to perform a wide range of domestic tasks in urban and rural settings.