Chapter Four: Til Death Do Us Part: Engagement, Elopement, Marriage, and Widowhood
Til Death Do Us Part: Engagement, Elopement, Marriage, and Widowhood
Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century free women of color in the Atlantic World played a significant role in the development of the cultures and societies we know today, but few scholars have thus far acknowledged the contributions of these women. Groundbreaking work such as More than Chattel: Black Women and Slavery in the Americas, edited by David Barry Gaspar and Darlene Clark Hine, or The Bondwoman’s Narrative, by Hannah Craft and edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., certainly begin to answer the question concerning how slavery touched the lives of black women in the Atlantic World. “Til Death Do Us Part” takes the inquiry one step further and asks what freedom meant to black women. This chapter broadens the scope from the usual sphere of the antebellum United States, and seeks to include the Spanish Caribbean in the discussion of how black women, and especially free black women, were affected during this era.
Examining the personal and interpersonal relationships of nineteenth-century Puerto Rican women of color humanizes the archival records. Scholarship on slavery in the Atlantic World has expanded in recent years, yet the study of free people of color within the world ← 67 | 68 → of slavery is still an oft-overlooked subject. The growing interest in the history of black women in slavery benefits from a study of women who were not enslaved. This chapter explores how place of origin affected personal perceptions of...
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