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“Old fellows”: Age, identity, and community in slave communities of the Antebellum South

Doddington, David ORCID: 2018. “Old fellows”: Age, identity, and community in slave communities of the Antebellum South. Journal of Global Slavery 3 (3) , pp. 286-312. 10.1163/2405836X-00303005

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The last few decades have seen scholars successfully challenge the idea that enslaved men in the U.S. South were emasculated by slavery, proving that despite their oppression, enslaved men could craft a gendered sense of self. Much work on the topic has focused on public demonstrations of strength and virility, on resistance, or on men’s activities as husbands and fathers, providers and protectors. However, at times, this work has treated manhood and male identity as static, and has not considered change over the course of a lifespan. As enslaved men grew older, the performances expected of them and the possibilities afforded them could shift, and this shift was not inevitably perceived of as positive or accepted without strife. While much existing work on conditions of life for elderly enslaved people has stressed the solidarity and assistance other members of the community extended to them, support was not always offered, nor was it always desired. In this article, I explore perceptions of change contemporaries associated with age and consider how this impacted on the lives of enslaved men in slave communities of the antebellum U.S. South.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
E History America > E11 America (General)
E History America > E151 United States (General)
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the prevailing CC-BY-NC license at the time of publication.
Publisher: Brill
ISSN: 2405-8351
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 December 2017
Date of Acceptance: 1 December 2017
Last Modified: 16 May 2023 13:35

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