To 'joy my freedom : Southern Black women's lives and labors after the Civil War

Hunter, Tera W

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Creator Tera W. Hunter
  • Format Books
  • Publication Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1997.
  • Series
  • Physical Details
    • ix, 311 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
  • ISBNs 0674893093, 9780674893092, 0674893085, 9780674893085
  • OCLC ocm36024077


  • Tera Hunter follows African-American working women from their newfound optimism and hope at the end of the Civil War to their struggles as free domestic laborers in the homes of their former master. We witness their drive as they build neighborhoods and networks and their energy as they enjoy leisure hours in dance halls and clubs. We learn of their militance and the way they resisted efforts to keep them economically depressed and medically victimized. Finally, we see the despair and defeat provoked by Jim Crow laws and segregation and how they spurred large numbers of black laboring women to migrate north.


  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 245-295) and index.


  • "Answering bells is played out": slavery and the Civil War -- Reconstruction and the meanings of freedom -- Working-class neighborhoods and everyday life -- "Washing amazons" and organized protests -- The "color line" gives way to the "color wall" -- Survival and social welfare in the age of Jim Crow -- "Wholesome" and "hurtful" amusements -- "Dancing and carousing the night away" -- Tuberculosis as the "Negro servants' disease" -- "Looking for a free state to live in."
Checking the Web...