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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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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 www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 18 September 2018

Secret Agents

Secret Agents

Black Women Insurgents on Abolitionist Battlegrounds

Chapter:
(p.77) Chapter 3 Secret Agents
Source:
Gendered Resistance
Author(s):

Veta Smith Tucker

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037900.003.0004

This chapter explores the gendered schema at the core of enslaved black women's abolitionist resistance and the scholarly neglect it received by examining the multiple and varied forms of resistance to labor and sexual abuse that four enslaved women engaged in: Mary Elizabeth Bowser, Margaret Garner, Harriet Tubman, and Mary Ellen Pleasant. In all cases, black women manipulated the stereotype of the hapless, deficient, enslaved black woman and used it as camouflage for their anti-slavery and anti-patriarchy insurgency. Either momentarily or permanently, Bowser, Garner, Tubman, and Pleasant became agents of their own or others' liberation. They exercised tactical ingenuity and rare insight into the illogic of both slavery and patriarchy. Ultimately, the success of these women's gendered resistance mystified antagonists, supporters, and scholars alike.

Keywords:   abolitionist resistance, sexual abuse, Mary Elizabeth Bowser, Margaret Garner, Harriet Tubman, Mary Ellen Pleasant, anti-slavery insurgency, anti-patriarchy insurgency, slavery, patriarchy

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