Mistresses and Slaves: Plantation Women in South Carolina, 1830-80
by Marli F. Weiner
University of Illinois Press, 1998
Paper: 978-0-252-06623-8 | Cloth: 978-0-252-02322-4
Library of Congress Classification E445.S7W45 1997
Dewey Decimal Classification 305.488960757

Marli Weiner challenges much of the received wisdom on the domestic realm of the nineteenth-century southern plantation—a world in which white mistresses and female slaves labored together to provide food, clothing, and medicines to the larger plantation community. Black and white women, though divided by race, shared common female experiences and expectations of behavior. Influenced by work and gender as much as race, the mistresses and female slaves interacted with one another very differently than they did with men. Weiner draws on the women's own words to offer fresh interpretations of the ideology of domesticity that influenced women's race relations before the Civil War, the gradual changes in attitudes during the war, and the harsh behaviors that surfaced during Reconstruction.

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