Notable Terms/ Glossary

Everything presented herein leads back to the common notion that the female slave experience was very unique to that of the males'. Because of this uniqueness, there has been a lasting impact on women and families that stretches even into contemporary society and culture. Please take note of the following terms throughout this site:


antebellum: conditions existing before the Civil War

chattel :1. an item of tangible property other than real estate 2. slave, bondman

citizen:a person who owes allegiance to a government, and is entitled to its protection

concubine:a "mistress". A female that serves a master sexually. Not a wife.

condition of the mother: refers to the slave status being hereditary. Law stated that child would "follow the condition of the mother," which provided a safeguard for white males when their black concubines would become pregnant.

conjugal: referring to the state of matrimony

dehumanization: to deprive of human qualities, personality, or spirit. Giving someone "animal status."

hiring day: the particular day when slaves are brought to the auction block.

kin: an individualís relatives

manumission: to manumit, or free from slavery

matriarchal: mother

mulatto:a person of mixed black and white ancestry

mutual obligation: the idea that the master was obligated to provide certain lively necessities to his slaves and respect them; in return, the slaves would do their work, obey their masters, and cause no trouble.

patriarchal: father

perpetual: continuing forever, everlasting

primary sources: documents written by the people who experienced certain events, as opposed to secondary sources, which are written by outside authors.

resistance :1. To fight against, oppose 2. To combat or repel

sexual abuse: refers to molestation, harassment, rape, and other forms of unwanted sexual advancements.


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