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Gendered ResistanceWomen, Slavery, and the Legacy of Margaret Garner$
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Mary E. Frederickson and Delores M. Walters

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037900

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037900.001.0001

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A Mother’s Arithmetic

A Mother’s Arithmetic

Elizabeth Clark Gaines’s Journey from Slavery to Freedom

(p.25) Chapter 1 A Mother’s Arithmetic
Gendered Resistance

Mary E. Frederickson

University of Illinois Press

This chapter details Elizabeth Clark Gaines's journey from slavery to freedom. At each stage of her life, Gaines plumbed the resources available to her—family, church, literacy, white allies, and the law—to navigate her way to freedom. In the process, legal battles ensued, first with the man who enslaved her for twenty-four years, and then with his eldest son. Thus, Gaines used the law to free herself and her four children. Her success met with hard resistance, both in Kentucky, where signed papers concerning enslavement meant nothing if a slave master refused to honor them, and in Cincinnati, where, as Gaines's grandson Peter later put it, “Nowhere has the prejudice against colored people been more cruelly manifested.”

Keywords:   Elizabeth Clark Gaines, slavery, freedom, legal battles, Kentucky, enslavement, Cincinnati, colored people

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