At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery, and Shifting Identities in Washington, D.C.

At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery, and Shifting Identities in Washington, D.C.

by Tamika Y. Nunley

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Overview

The capital city of a nation founded on the premise of liberty, nineteenth-century Washington, D.C., was both an entrepot of urban slavery and the target of abolitionist ferment. The growing slave trade and the enactment of Black codes placed the city's Black women within the rigid confines of a social hierarchy ordered by race and gender. At the Threshold of Liberty reveals how these women--enslaved, fugitive, and free--imagined new identities and lives beyond the oppressive restrictions intended to prevent them from ever experiencing liberty, self-respect, and power.

Consulting newspapers, government documents, letters, abolitionist records, legislation, and memoirs, Tamika Y. Nunley traces how Black women navigated social and legal proscriptions to develop their own ideas about liberty as they escaped from slavery, initiated freedom suits, created entrepreneurial economies, pursued education, and participated in political work. In telling these stories, Nunley places Black women at the vanguard of the history of Washington, D.C., and the momentous transformations of nineteenth-century America.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469662237
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 01/29/2021
Series: The John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 567,296
File size: 12 MB
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About the Author

Tamika Y. Nunley is associate professor of history at Cornell University.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Tamika Nunley's wonderful book puts remarkable women at the center of African Americans' struggle for full freedom in the nation's capital.—Chris Myers Asch, co-author of Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation's Capital



Tamika Y. Nunley has written a nuanced, humane, and powerful history of Black women's freedom-making in Washington, D.C. At the Threshold of Liberty is a major contribution.—William G. Thomas III, author of A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation's Founding to the Civil War

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