By Prof. Erica Armstrong Dunbar
This publication is the 1st to chronicle the lives of African American girls within the city north throughout the early years of the republic. a delicate Freedom investigates how African American girls in Philadelphia journeyed from enslavement to the precarious prestige of “free individuals” within the many years prime as much as the Civil conflict and examines similar advancements within the towns of latest York and Boston. Erica Armstrong Dunbar argues that early nineteenth-century Philadelphia, the place so much 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” ladies of antebellum Philadelphia, the loose black associations that took root there, and the formerly unrecognized significance of African American ladies to the heritage of yankee cities. (20090301)
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Additional info for A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City (Society and the Sexes in the Modern Worl)
One of the earliest colonial newspapers, the Pennsylvania Gazette, concentrated on news in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, 16 Slavery and the “Holy Experiment” advertising the sale of property such as homes, horses, and slaves. ”29 As a young female slave familiar with the varied skills necessary for domestic work, she most likely would have fetched a reasonable price. ” Superior culinary skills as well as the ability to iron, wash, and sew were seen as necessary in both the city and the country, and a deficiency in any of these skills could lead to the sale of a slave, as seen in a 1758 advertisement: “A Likely handy Negroe Wench, about 30 years old, very healthy, has been bred up both to Town and Country Work, she is Country born and is sold by her master because she does not answer for a Cook, for which she was bought.
Wartime chaos in the 1760s and 1770s brought change, hope, and disappointment to black Philadelphians. As white indentured servants left their masters to join in the military campaign of the French and Indian War, thousands of blacks poured into the seaport and were eagerly purchased by whites in the city and the countryside. Even so, many Philadelphia Quakers began to emancipate their slaves. By the 1780s freedom from British control was secured and emancipation for Philadelphia’s men and women of African descent appeared imminent.
38 Although Judith was bound out for thirteen years, she was entitled to a certain standard of living, a provision, in fact, that proved crucial for nineteenth-century black communities.