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As If She Were Free
A Collective Biography of Women and Emancipation in the Americas

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Joyce Tsai, Erica L. Ball, Tatiana Seijas, Terri L. Snyder, Chloe L. Ireton, Nicole von Germeten, Susanah Shaw Romney, Taunya Lovell Banks, Heather Miyano Kopelson, Michelle A. McKinley, Honor Sachs, Margaret Ellen Newell, Sophie White, Mariana Dantas, Sabrina Smith, Ana María Díaz Burgos, Tamara J. Walker, Sasha Turner, Alice L. Baumgartner, Aisha K. Finch, Kellie Carter Jackson, Mariana Dias Paes, Maria Helena Pereira Toledo Machado, Erika Edwards, Florencia Guzmán, Jacqueline Couti, Sharon E. Wood, Cassandra L. Newby-Alexander, Cathleen D. Cahill
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  • Date Published: October 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108493406

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About the Authors
  • As If She Were Free brings together the biographies of twenty-four women of African descent to reveal how enslaved and recently freed women sought, imagined, and found freedom from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries in the Americas. Our biographical approach allows readers to view large social processes – migration, trade, enslavement, emancipation – through the perspective of individual women moving across the boundaries of slavery and freedom. For some women, freedom meant liberation and legal protection from slavery, while others focused on gaining economic, personal, political, and social rights. Rather than simply defining emancipation as a legal status that was conferred by those in authority and framing women as passive recipients of freedom, these life stories demonstrate that women were agents of emancipation, claiming free status in the courts, fighting for liberty, and defining and experiencing freedom in a surprising and inspiring range of ways.

    • Offers a new history of freedom by showing how women acted as agents of emancipation
    • Takes a comparative and comprehensive approach to the history of slavery and emancipation, rather than focusing on one nation or region
    • All chapters are original work and written by senior and rising women historians
    Read more

    Awards

    • One of the Best Black-History Books of 2020, Black Perspectives

    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘This collection is a long-awaited addition to the scholarship on women of African descent in the Americas. Gathering the finest women historians working on the history of slavery and emancipation in several countries of the Americas, this volume brings to light the groundbreaking trajectories of black women in regions as diverse as Colombia, Brazil, Ohio, and Virginia. Very often forgotten in the historiography, these women were pioneers in fighting for their rights since the era of Atlantic slavery. This book will be a mandatory reading in any undergraduate or graduate course on women, slavery, and emancipation in the Americas.’ Ana Lucia Araujo, Howard University, Washington, DC

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108493406
    • dimensions: 160 x 235 x 40 mm
    • weight: 0.93kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Elizabeth Catlett and the form of emancipation Joyce Tsai
    Introduction Erica L. Ball, Tatiana Seijas and Terri L. Snyder
    Part I. Claiming Emancipation during the Rise of New World Slavery:
    1. Margarita de Sossa, sixteenth-century Puebla de los Ángeles, New Spain (Mexico) Chloe L. Ireton
    2. Paula de Eguiluz, seventeenth-century Puerto Rico, Cuba, and New Granada (Colombia) Nicole von Germeten
    3. Reytory Angola, seventeenth-century Manhattan (US) Susanah Shaw Romney
    4. Elizabeth Key, seventeenth-century Virginia (US) Taunya Lovell Banks
    5. Hannah Manena McKenney, late-seventeenth- and early-eighteenth-century Bermuda and New Providence, Bahamas Heather Miyano Kopelson
    6. Juana de Godinez, seventeenth-century Lima, Peru Michelle A. McKinley
    Part II. Experiencing Freedom during Slavery's Expansion:
    7. Judith and Hannah: eighteenth-century Florida, South Carolina, and Virginia (US) Honor Sachs
    8. Sarah Chauqum, eighteenth-century Rhode Island and Connecticut (US) Margaret Ellen Newell
    9. Marion, eighteenth-century Natchitoches, Louisiana (US) Sophie White
    10. Anna Maria Lopes de Brito, eighteenth-century Minas Gerais, Brazil Mariana Dantas
    11. Juana Ramírez, eighteenth-century Oaxaca, New Spain (Mexico) Sabrina Smith
    12. Juana María Álvarez, eighteenth-century New Granada (Colombia) Ana María Díaz Burgos
    13. María Hipólita Lozano, eighteenth-century Lima, Peru Tamara J. Walker
    Part III. Envisaging Emancipation during Second Slavery:
    14. Bessy Chambers, nineteenth-century Jamaica Sasha Turner
    15. Minerva, nineteenth-century Texas and Louisiana, US and Mexico Alice L. Baumgartner
    16. Cécile Fatiman and Petra Calabarí, late-eighteenth-century Haiti and mid-nineteenth-century Cuba Aisha K. Finch
    17. Mary Ellen Pleasant, nineteenth-century Massachusetts and California, US Kellie Carter Jackson
    18. Gabriela, nineteenth-century Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil Mariana Dias Paes
    19. Maria Firmina dos Reis, nineteenth-century Maranhão, Brazil Maria Helena Pereira Toledo Machado
    Part IV. Enacting Emancipation in the Aftermath of Slavery:
    20. María Remedios del Valle, nineteenth-century Argentina Erika Edwards and Florencia Guzmán
    21. Lumina Sophie, nineteenth-century Martinique Jacqueline Couti
    22. Emma Lane Coger, nineteenth-century Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri (US) Sharon E. Wood
    23. Laura E. Davis Titus, nineteenth-century Norfolk, Virginia, US Cassandra L. Newby-Alexander
    24. Carrie Williams Clifford, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Ohio, US Cathleen D. Cahill
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Editors

    Erica L. Ball, Occidental College, Los Angeles
    Erica L. Ball is Professor in the Department of History and the Black Studies Program at Occidental College, Los Angeles. She is co-editor of Reconsidering Roots: Race, Politics, and Memory (2017) and author of To Live an Antislavery Life: Personal Politics and the Antebellum Black Middle Class (2012).

    Tatiana Seijas, Rutgers University, New Jersey
    Tatiana Seijas is Associate Professor in the Department of History at Rutgers University, New Jersey. She is the co-author of Spanish Dollars and Sister Republics (2017) and author of Asian Slaves in Colonial Mexico: From Chinos to Indians (2014), which won the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians' Book Prize.

    Terri L. Snyder, California State University, Fullerton
    Terri L. Snyder is Professor in the Department of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton. She is the author of The Power to Die: Slavery and Suicide in British North America (2015).

    Contributors

    Joyce Tsai, Erica L. Ball, Tatiana Seijas, Terri L. Snyder, Chloe L. Ireton, Nicole von Germeten, Susanah Shaw Romney, Taunya Lovell Banks, Heather Miyano Kopelson, Michelle A. McKinley, Honor Sachs, Margaret Ellen Newell, Sophie White, Mariana Dantas, Sabrina Smith, Ana María Díaz Burgos, Tamara J. Walker, Sasha Turner, Alice L. Baumgartner, Aisha K. Finch, Kellie Carter Jackson, Mariana Dias Paes, Maria Helena Pereira Toledo Machado, Erika Edwards, Florencia Guzmán, Jacqueline Couti, Sharon E. Wood, Cassandra L. Newby-Alexander, Cathleen D. Cahill

    Awards

    • One of the Best Black-History Books of 2020, Black Perspectives

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