Amrita Chakrabarti MyersForging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston

University of North Carolina Press, 2011

by Arica Easley-Houser on May 31, 2013

Amrita Chakrabarti Myers

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[Cross-posted from New Books in African American Studies] How were black women manumitted in the Old South, and how did they live their lives in freedom before the Civil War?  Historian, Amrita Chakrabarti Myers (Associate Professor in the Department of History at Indiana University in Bloomington) answers this complex question by explaining the precarious nature freedom for African American women in Charleston before the Civil War in Forging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston (UNC Press, 2011).  In three tightly woven sections, she tells stories that reveal  what it meant to glimpse, build and experience freedom from the early national period to the end of the antebellum era.  Her beautifully written prose, coupled with thorough research to understand black women’s experiences in antebellum Charleston, makes her work an important contribution to the historical literature.  Furthermore, her book has been awarded several prizes, namely the Julia Cherry Spruill Prize  (2012) from the Southern Association of Women Historians, the George C. Rogers Jr. Award (2011) from the South Carolina Historical Society, and the Anna Julia Cooper – CLR James Book Award (2011) from the National Council for Black Studies.

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