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Southern Women: Black and White in the Old South, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-88295-963-4
240 pages
October 2001, ©2002, Wiley-Blackwell
Southern Women: Black and White in the Old South, 2nd Edition (0882959638) cover image

Unlike their Northern counterparts, Southern women lived in relative obscurity, giving rise to, and often making them victims of, myth and exaggeration. In Southern Women, Professor McMillen considers diaries, letters, and other personal accounts as well as the latest scholarly research to present an alternate view into the lives of antebellum Southern women, helping to dispel myths about how these women lived.

This intriguing narrative assesses similarites and differences among the various classes of Southern women, as well as interracial and class relationships. A wholly new chapter on Southern women and the Confederacy--including rare scholarship on yeoman and poor farmwives--and photographic essay help make the second edition of this versatile text ideal as supplementary reading in the U.S. History survey as well as in courses on Southern, Social, and Women's, and African American History.

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Forward vii

Acknowledgments xi

INTRODUCTION: An Overview of the South and Southern Women 1

CHAPTER ONE: Family Life and Marriage 13

Family 13

Courtship and Marriage 17

Miscegenation and Sexuality 25

Marriage 34

Black Women and Marriage 37

White Women and Marriage 41

Laws and Marriage 48

CHAPTER TWO: Reproduction and Childrearing 57

Fertility 57

Pregnancy 62

Childbearing 66

Motherhood and Childrearing 74

CHAPTER THREE: Social Concerns: Education and Religion 90

Education 90

The School Experience 95

Education for the Less Privileged 101

White Women and Religion 104

Women’s Benevolence 111

Black Women and Religion 114

CHAPTER FOUR: Women and Work 118

The Meaning of Southern Women’s Work 118

Slave Labor 120

Slave Protest 126

White Women and Work 128

Work on the Frontier 132

Paid Employment 135

Nontraditional Roles 140

Interracial and Class Relationships 144

Those Who Questioned Slavery 151

CHAPTER FIVE: Southern Women and the Confederacy 154

Elite White Women 155

Slave and Free Black Women 172

Yeoman and Poor Farmwives 176

Coping Skills and Union Supporters 180

End of War 182

Conclusion 183

Bibliographical Essay 187

Index 209

Photos follow page 100

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Sally G. McMillen is Professor of history at Davidson College, where she has taught since 1988. She is also the author of Motherhood in the Old South: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Infant Rearing (1990), To Raise Up the South: Sunday Schools in Black and White Churches, 1865—1915 (2002) as well as several journal articles. She is co-editor of Major Problems in the History of the American South (1999).

Born and raised in southern California, she is the mother of two grown children. Her personal interests include running, hiking, biking, reading, and traveling.

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