Slave narratives, respectability politics, black womanhood and choice

harriet jacobs

You may ask for freedom only if you live above reproach. That was the message to enslaved black people in the antebellum era. Freedom could never be an expectation, but a hope, an aspiration. It was something others possessed without measurement of their worth as individuals or as a people, but that blacks had to petition for, and that they had only a chance of achieving if their character was above that of the people who withheld freedom from them. The hypocrisy was unfair but was the standard.

Read the full post at NCR.

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