Paper Assignment #2: Ar’n’t I a Woman? Female Slaves in the Plantation South by Deborah Gray White
HIST103A: Due in section, November 7, 2014 and via Turn-It-In (Blackboard link)
Format: 5-7 pages, Times New Roman 12 point, double-spaced, 1 inch margins, page numbers at bottom of page, STAPLED. No bibliography is necessary, but you must title your paper.
Assignment Topic and Question: When first published in 1985, Deborah Gray White’s Ar’n’t I a Woman? was one of the first monographs that focused on the lives of slave women. Before White’s book, scholars considered plantation slavery and power relationship between slaves and masters from the perspectives of white and black men. Afterwards, scholars had a better idea of how slave women adapted to plantation life in terms of work, family, sexuality, and resistance.
While historians often consider slavery in terms of labor, property, and contrasting ideas of freedom, White’s monograph claims that black women earned a sense of self-respect and womanhood despite the oppressive conditions of slavery. In your paper, analyze some of the cultural, personal, or labor factors (as described by White) that united the lives of black women. Your thesis must indicate how well her book succeeds in making its main claim.
To do so, you might consider the influence of black women’s cultural heritage, or sexual/familial relationships, or work responsibilities. Your conclusion should indicate whether or not White’s method should encourage readers to think differently about slavery.
Sources: You may only use the following sources for this paper:
1. Ar’n’t I a Woman? Female Slaves in the Plantation South by Deborah Gray White.
2. Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty! An American History (New York: W.W. Norton, 2013).
3. Marie Jenkins Schwartz, “Family Life in the Slave Quarters: Survival Strategies,” OAH Magazine of History, Vol. 15, No. 4, Family History (Summer, 2001), pp. 36-41. (BLACKBOARD)
When quoting from any text, you must use Chicago style footnotes. In Microsoft Word 2007, the footnote function is under the “References” tab. Set off the part of the text you are using in quotation marks (Ex: When asked to take an oath, Branch “answered that she would do so willingly”) and insert the footnote at the end of the sentence. The footnote then appears at the bottom of the page (no endnotes!) The first time you cite one of the sources, you must use the complete citation style, as follows:
1. Richard Godbeer, Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 57.
Each subsequent use can be shorted as follows:
2. Godbeer, Escaping Salem, 72.
3. Reis, “Confess or Deny?” 12.
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