Women's Role in 19th Century

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Lisvania Delgado
September 10, 2012
“Black Women, Mothering, and Protest in 19th Century American Society”
Marci Bounds Littlefield is the author of the article titled above. She put this piece of literature together through the recompilation of black women’s autobiographies, speeches, interviews and other writings previously published. The article focuses on slavery and African American Women, the different roles women played during this time period, as well as the conflicting roles they played in protests. Other key points made throughout the article were motherhood for black family life and the challenges they had to face my being mothers during slavery.

During the 19th century, women’s labor at home was just to be a mother and was seen as inferior and weak compared to the positions men held in society. There was an idea were black women were not “true” women because of racial inferiority. When comparing motherhood for black women and white women, it is evident that there were differences such as the way the social system perceived motherhood. In the case of black women, it represented a benefit to the economy of their masters and it was seen as the production of more property; while for white women; it was a privilege and a good social status and seen as producing leaders and heirs. Gender for black women was only important in the context of motherhood which was the only way to separate and uniquely identify women from men. They were expected to become mothers at an early age and reproduce children at a constant rate. Slave women were working approximately thirteen hours daily, laboring like men did, and after their busy day, they were expected to go home and cook dinner. An interviewee mentioned that the day they were freed was the day she began to live. Even being a mother didn’t give them the right to fully protect their children. Black women were not in a position to physically protect their children from slavery. Another interviewee mentioned that...
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