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

Author(s): Edited by Erica L. Ball, Tatiana Seijas, Terri L. Snyder

ISBN: 9781108737036
Publication Date: 15/10/2020
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Regular price £23.99 GBP
Regular price Sale price £23.99 GBP

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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