A black and white drawing of Julia Ann Chinn.

Tenuous Privileges, Tenuous Power

Amrita Myers paints freedom as a process in which Black women used the tools available to them to secure rights and privileges within a slave society.
Professor Wendy Roberts holding a book.

UAlbany Professor Finds New Poem by Famed Early American Poet Phillis Wheatley

Discovery of Phillis Wheatley's earliest known elegy in a commonplace book gives us important insights into her early life and how her work circulated.
Illustration of African American Civil War soldier examining newspaper by torchlight as a Black family watches.

On War and U.S. Slavery: Enslaved Black Women’s Experiences

Enslaved women’s experiences with war must be extended to include the everyday warfare of slavery.
Map of Beaufort, South Carolina during the time of Rose Goethe's life.

“They Cleaned Me Out Entirely”

An enslaved woman’s experience with General Sherman’s army.
Black and white lithograph drawing of a white man dragging away a Black woman as another white man holds her baby.

Maternal Grief in Black and White

Examining enslaved mothers and antislavery literature on the eve of war.
Photograph of people admiring the statue dedicated to Bett Freeman.

Statue Honors Once-Enslaved Woman Who Won Freedom in Court

Bett Freeman's story and the legal precedent her case established are now forever remembered in Sheffield, Massachusetts.
Enslaved African Americans hoe and plow the earth and cut piles of sweet potatoes on a South Carolina plantation, circa 1862-3.

"She Had Smothered Her Baby On Purpose"

Enslaved women's use of birth control, abortifacients, and even infanticide showed that they resisted by exerting control over their reproductive lives.
Image from the 1860 US Federal Census Mortality Schedule


An 1860 census record offers a glimpse into the choices available to pregnant women who were enslaved.
Lumpkin’s Jail; engraving from A History of the Richmond Theological Seminary, 1895

A Fable of Agency

Kristen Green’s "The Devil’s Half Acre" recounts the story of a fugitive slave jail, and the enslaved woman, Mary Lumpkin, who came to own it.
Illustration of the shadow of Mary Lumpkin over the blueprint of Virginia Union University

The Enslaved Woman Who Liberated a Slave Jail and Transformed It Into an HBCU

Forced to bear her enslaver's children, Mary Lumpkin later forged her own path to freedom.
Activists with a sign saying "No More Stolen Sisters" march for missing and murdered Indigenous women at the Women's March California 2019 on January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Sarah Morris/Getty

Colonial Traffic in Native American Women

“European and Indian men—as captors, brokers, and buyers—used captured and enslaved women to craft relationships of trade and reciprocity with one another.”

Black Women and American Freedom in Revolutionary America

The relationship between enslaved women and the Revolutionary war.
Jennifer L. Morgan portrayed beside her book

Black Feminist in Public: Jennifer L. Morgan Reckons with Slavery

Jennifer L. Morgan on the intersectionality of enslaved women and common misunderstandings about slavery.
An embroidered sack that says "My great grandmother Rose, mother of Ashley gave her this sack when, she was sold at age 9 in South Carolina, it held a tattered dress 3 handfulls of pecans a braid of Rose's hair. Told her it be filled with my Love always, she never saw her again, Ashley is my grandmother, Ruth Middleton 1921

To Find the History of African American Women, Look to Their Handiwork

Our foremothers wove spiritual beliefs, cultural values, and historical knowledge into their flax, wool, silk, and cotton webs.
Statue of Mary Seacole by Martin Jennings in front of St Thomas' Hospital, London.

African Americans, Slavery, and Nursing in the US South

Following backlash to the construction of a statue for Mary Seacole, Knight describes the connection between nursing and slavery in the US South.

George Washington’s Midwives

The economics of childbirth under slavery.

The Double-Edged Sword of Motherhood Under American Slavery

How did enslaved mothers contend with the possibility that their children could be sold away from them?

Jefferson and Hemings: How Negotiation Under Slavery Was Possible

In navigating lives of privation and brutality, enslaved people haggled, often daily, for liberties small and large.

Demanding to Be Heard

African American women’s voices from slave narratives to #MeToo.
Formal portrait photo of an African American wet nurse with a white child on her lap.

Historians Detail Charleston's Role in the Antebellum Market for Wet Nurses

Enslaved wet nurses were a valued purchase in the antebellum South.