Slave Marriage and Family Relations

Brenda E. Stevenson

in Life in Black and White

Published in print November 1997 | ISBN: 9780195118032
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853793 | DOI:
Slave Marriage and Family Relations

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The chapter discusses the inherent difficulties of romance, courtship, and marriage in the slave community. Though their masters did have the final say on all their dealings and associations, many slaves chose the path of resistance should the intervention prove unbearable. Each slave community functioned as an extended family, forming bonds of kinship, and creating its own conventions that heavily influenced the choices of their members regarding marriage and attachments, more so than what they owners had imagined. Factors affecting the ability of slave couples to have normal familial relations included the often abused sexual right of the owner over a slave woman and the inability of slave men to form deeper attachments with their women due to their upbringing. In the remaining sections of this chapter, birthing patterns, fertility, and infant mortality are all analyzed and contrasted with statistics for the same issues relating to white women. Lastly, related instances of resistance and rebellion are recounted.

Keywords: slave; romance; courtship; marriage; master; slave community; slaves

Chapter.  15715 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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