ABOUT THIS BOOK
African-American women fought for their freedom with courage and vigor during and after the Civil War. Leslie Schwalm explores the vital roles of enslaved and formerly enslaved women on the rice plantations of lowcountry South Carolina, both in antebellum plantation life and in the wartime collapse of slavery. From there, she chronicles their efforts as freedwomen to recover from the impact of the war while redefining their lives and labor.
Freedwomen asserted their own ideas of what freedom meant and insisted on important changes in the work they performed both for white employers and in their own homes. As Schwalm shows, these women rejected the most unpleasant or demeaning tasks, guarded the prerogatives they gained under the South's slave economy, and defended their hard-won freedoms against unwanted intervention by Northern whites and the efforts of former owners to restore slavery's social and economic relations during Reconstruction. A bold challenge to entrenched notions, A Hard Fight for We places African American women at the center of the South's transition from a slave society.