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Novel BondageSlavery, Marriage, and Freedom in Nineteenth-Century America$
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Tess Chakkalakal

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036330

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036330.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use (for details see http://www.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 20 November 2017

Free, Black, and Married

Free, Black, and Married

Frank J. Webb’s The Garies and Their Friends

Chapter:
(p.47) 3. Free, Black, and Married
Source:
Novel Bondage
Author(s):

Tess Chakkalakal

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252036330.003.0004

This chapter concerns the importance of marriage to the formation of a free black antebellum community. It discusses Frank J. Webb's 1857 novel, The Garies and Their Friends, which depicts the trials and tribulations of the growing free, black middle class of Philadelphia of which he and his first wife, the distinguished performer Mary E. Webb, were prominent members. Drawing upon Stowe's concept of the nonlegal slave-marriage as offering a more equitable and fruitful relationship between a husband and wife than the proprietary terms of a legal marriage, Webb's novel develops the terms of a free black marriage. Moving away from the legal rhetoric of marriage, The Garies and Their Friends imagines marriage—based perhaps on the author's own exemplary marriage—as an equal exchange between husband and wife.

Keywords:   nonlegal marriage, slave-marriage, Frank J. Webb, The Garies and Their Friends, black community, husband, free blacks, antebellum

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