The Rebel Woman in the British West Indies during Slavery

The Rebel Woman in the British West Indies during Slavery

The Rebel Woman in the British West Indies during Slavery

The Rebel Woman in the British West Indies during Slavery

Synopsis

"The Rebel Woman describes a period in Jamaica's history where women played an important part in different forms of protest against slavery. Mair's book details both the negative and positive methods of protest used by the enslaved people of the West Indies. An excellent reference for students researching topics relating to slavery, freedom and gender.

Excerpt

Africans who were brought as slaves to the New World did not accept their condition meekly. They employed a variety of methods to express their resentment of the institution of slavery, and of the white masters who enslaved them. They employed quiet, subtle, almost negative methods of protest which today might be termed civil disobedience; for example, they pretended to be ill, and so avoided work. On the other hand, they sometimes went to the positive, violent extreme of armed rebellion. Historical studies have established fully the fact that black anti-slavery attitudes and actions were a strong and persistent feature of the West Indian past.

It is not so well established that women, who are often regarded as the submissive sex, also took an important part in forms of protest against slavery. Female slaves adopted some of the same techniques as men to defy the system: they frequently ran away from the plantation, on their own, or in mixed groups: and in addition they resisted in ways which were peculiar to them as women: for example they could, and did use periods of childbearing to do the minimum of work, and to extract the maximum of concessions from their masters.

Both types of female reaction against bondage will be discussed in the following pages.

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