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Enslaved Women's Work · Hidden Voices: Enslaved Women in the Lowcountry and U.S. South · Lowcountry Digital History Initiative
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"Hidden Voices" explores the lives of enslaved women in the South Carolina and Georgia Lowcountry and the wider US South, focusing on the early 1800s through the antebellum era, to emancipation in the 1860s. This exhibit draws on sometimes rare written testimonies and images both by and about enslaved women to highlight their often-overlooked everyday histories and perspectives. It explores varieties in women’s forced labor, whether working for enslavers or their families. It examines women’s community lives and life cycles. The specific violence women experienced is also covered here, as well as their resistance and cultural traditions in both urban and rural settings. It concludes by addressing changes and continuities in women’s lives in the Civil War through emancipation’s aftermath.
This exhibit explores enslaved women’s culture and labor in the Lowcountry and beyond, marking both continuities among all enslaved women and distinctive experiences that emerged from their lives in this particular region of the United States. It also considers the ways in which women experienced slavery differently from men because of their gender. From the plantation to urban spaces, bonded women’s labor, family relationships, violence, resistance, and culture were distinctive. Understanding these women’s roles and experiences provides a more complete picture of American slavery, and it illuminates the specific labor and cultural contributions of Lowcountry women during and after slavery.

Gender Studies
Social Studies
U.S. History
Material Type:
Learning Task
Assisted by Sian David. Sian David studied as an undergraduate student in the Department of History at the University of Reading.
Monticello Historic Site Catherine Stiers
Special Collections at the College of Charleston
Tim Lockley
University of Warwick Ashley Hollinshead
Emily West;professor of History at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom.
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