Hilary McD. Beckles
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Taking liberties
Enslaved women and anti-slavery in the Caribbean
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Chattel slavery, the dominant social institution, was thoroughly gendered in its designs and functions. A principal task of Lucille Mair's was to add women to the historical narrative, and to locate their anti-slavery contributions firmly within the vanguard of the political project of nation-building. Throughout the slavery period evidence indicates that enslaved women had extended their resistance network into bio-social zones associated with maternity. The economic culture retained by Africans in the Caribbean was used for resistance strategies in which women gained considerable social visibility and provided consistent leadership. The gender conception of the enslaved black woman as the seed of unfreedom resided at the core of the meaning and social reality of slavery. The 'natural rebel', on occasions, had to resist the tyranny of enslaved black men with the same degree of tenacity and may have experienced the struggle against slavery as an expedition against tyrannical male power.

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