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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, 2018. 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: 23 July 2018

“A Legally Unmarried Race”

“A Legally Unmarried Race”

Frances Harper’s Marital Mission

(p.64) 4. “A Legally Unmarried Race”
Novel Bondage

Tess Chakkalakal

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the tension between slavery and freedom that distinguishes the form of Frances Harper's fiction. Harper's antislavery activism went hand in hand with her critique of marriage, so that—following abolition—her critique took a not unexpected turn toward racial uplift. By examining the significance of Harper's principle of marriage as “an affinity of souls” in relation to the abolitionist principles she espoused, this chapter examines her rediscovered stories first published in the Christian Recorder. These stories reveal a tension between the material benefits and spiritual costs of marriage, particularly to the public aspirations of her female heroes. Understanding the broad scope of her fiction allows readers to grasp the precariousness of Harper's political position as a free, black, and unmarried woman in the mid-nineteenth century.

Keywords:   Francis Harper, antislavery, racial uplift, marriage, Christian Recorder, female heroes, slavery, freedom

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