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The Prevailing Of A Womans Spirit

1188 words - 5 pages

Deborah Gray Whites Ar’n’t I a Woman? Explores what it was like to be a female slave. Deborah Gray White provides numerous detailed accounts and anecdotes throughout the book. The whole book seeks to answer the question asked by African American slaves, Ar’n’t I a Woman? In Sojourner Truths speech held in 1851 in Akron, Ohio at the women’s rights convention, she explains her own experience with being a female slave in the plantation south. She, like most black women of the time, plowed, planted and hoed, did as much work as a man, endured the brutal punishment meted out by slaveholders and their overseers, and also fulfilled her ordained role of motherhood.” Moreover, women were still seen as inferior to men. Women were subjected to worse treatment than that of men and this book proves to describe the many ways that women in particular were mistreated. This books main purpose is to educate its readers about the onerous burdens that females suffered directly resulting from slavery. Ar’n’t I a woman was the first book of its kind to accurately assess the females’ perspective of slavery.
In many ways, female slaves’ experiences in the plantation south were drastically different than that of their male counterparts. In my opinion, the worst aspects of slavery for women included: multiple forms of abuse, abroad and arranged marriages and the pressures of childbearing and the complications that often accompanied motherhood.
The first worst aspect for women slaves was the multiple forms of abuse they suffered. This abuse included but was not limited to sexual, emotional, psychological and physical abuse. The main forms of abuse perpetrated against women were sexual and physical in nature. Some evidence to support this claim in Deborah Gray Whites Ar’n’t I a Woman? Is “The whipping of a thirteen-year old Georgia slave girl also had sexual overtones. The girl was put on all fours “sometimes her head down, and sometimes up” and beaten until froth ran from her mouth.” This kind of treatment was not unusual for female slaves. Women often took the brunt of abuse. The victim’s husband or children were frequently present when this type of abuse was occurring. When men tried to intervene, they too were beaten. This had a psychological impact on all members of the slave community who had witnessed this abuse towards their loved ones. Despite their best efforts there was nothing that they could do to stop the abuse. This does not mean that women did nothing to protect themselves against their abusers. Deborah Gray White states “When Jermain Loguen’s mother was attacked she picked up a stick and dealt her would-be rapist a blow that sent him staggering. She stood her ground even as he rebounded with a knife, and finally she knocked him out cold.” During the time of slavery, rapes against black women were not recognized as a crime. So the only choice many women had was to either fight off their assailants or to subject themselves to the...

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