Legacy of Slavery Research Program
The aim of this presentation is to help the
understand the resistance of African American women on and off the
African American women played a major role in the
of slavery in the state of
Topics and People:
(Notable African American women will be introduced as they apply to the subject matter.) This presentation will be discussed in three parts, resistance on the plantation, running away, and assistance to those in flight.
I. Resistance on the plantation took form in a number of ways
Harm to the master’s family- Slave women in
On November 6, 1834, Judith, who belonged
John Bayne, kills his two sons John and George aged 7 and 5 years old.
Bayne lived at Salubria Plantation in
Louisa Harris, a mulatto slave
belonging to Charles
Cockey is mentioned in a petition dated June 1853 as “notoriously
turbulent and dangerous to the safety of himself and family”. Louisa is
sold “beyond the limits of the State of
b. Destroying Property- Women on the plantation would burn the homes or crops of their masters in resistance to their situation. (Judith, mentioned prior to, also attempted to burn the dwelling house down. She admits this crime at her interrogation.)
Enticing Slaves to runaway- Common
the free African American population in
On October 31, 1844,
Toogood, a freeborn African-American, was convicted by the Anne Arundel
Court for enticing a slave to run away. Mary was born in
passed in 1850 to render the northern states unsafe for escaped slaves.
escaped slave made his way to a northern state and found himself
there by hunters or catchers, he could legally be taken back to slavery
spite of his residence in a
a. Why were women running away- Freedom and relief from abusive treatment, closer to relatives?
1. Legally Free-
Refusal by the owners to free their
to slaves fleeing the plantation. Other slaves wanted to purchase their
freedom, or a relative’s freedom, only to be refused by their masters.
case of Caroline Hammond, a fugitive from
2. Physical and Sexual Abuse
· Slave women suffered at the hands of their masters physically and sexually. Women like men on the plantation received punishment in the form of beatings if they upset their master.
Hannah a slave from
3. Fear of being sold
Many women were separated from their
during slavery. Children in
b. Women running in groups- (Friendship Network)- In some cases women ran away with other women, also living in the same households when they escaped.
1. Charlotte Giles and Harriet Eglin- ran away from their masters, Captain William Applegarth and John Delahay, together on a train. When approached by their master they used the alias Mary and Lizzie.
2. Susan, Jenny, and Mary Anne
There was a Six Hundred Dollar Reward for these women.
III. Assistance to those in flight- Aiding slaves in Flight was a huge risk. Jail terms were issued out for those assisting runaways.
Abolitionist- there were female
abolitionists from the
1. Harriet Tubman
Fled from slavery in
2. Francis Ellen Watkins Harper
Born free in 1824 in
Francis Harper was a poet, novelist, and lecturer who spoke out for abolition and women’s rights. Most of Harper’s poems and novels reflected the life of black women on the plantation. Harpers poems were published in Abolitionist periodicals. Two of her most famous works were Iola Leroy and Almost Forgotten. Harper used proceeds from her poems for the Underground Railroad. Frances Harper died on February 11, 1911.
Food & Shelter- Shelter was provided in
locations including homes, barns, and churches. Women prepared meals
people into their homes. There were women in
c. Financial- Women did finance people running away.
Murray Douglass- Anna Murray Douglass was born free in
Research Archivist, Legacy of Slavery in
Baltimore County Register of Wills (Petitions and Orders) Charles T. Cockey vs. Louisa Harris: 29 April 1856. MSA T1206-449, 02/58/08/14.
Rawick, George P. The American Slave, Vol. 16.
(Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Company, 1972).
Sprague, Rosetta Douglass. My mother
as I Recall Her. (Washington, DC: NACW Publishing, 1923).
Virta, Alan. Prince
George's County: A Pictorial History. (Virginia Beach, VA:
Donning Company Publishers, 1984).
A.W.P., "Unparalleled Depravity", Daily National Intelligencer, November,
Special Collections (Biographical Series). Mary Toogood. 1844, MSA SC
Special Collections (Biographical Series). Harriet Ross Tubman. 1849, MSA SC
Special Collections (Biographical Series). Susan. 1851, MSA SC 5496-1306.
Special Collections (Biographical Series). Jenny. 1851, MSA SC 5496-1317.
Special Collections (Biographical Series). Mary Anne. 1851, MSA SC 5496-1327.
Maryland Commision for Women. Francis Ellen
Watkins Harper. Maryland State Archives, 2001.
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