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Old age, resistance, and surviving slavery in the US South

Doddington, David Stefan ORCID: 2021. Old age, resistance, and surviving slavery in the US South. Slavery and Abolition 42 (4) , pp. 710-732. 10.1080/0144039X.2021.1886571

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This article provides a challenge to enduring arguments about the unifying nature of resistance by enslaved people in the US South by emphasising intergenerational conflict in the context of fight or flight. Scholars have commonly argued that, while not as likely to flee themselves, elders were elevated and praised for their roles as guides in offering advice and support – both moral and practical – or by simply upholding the solidarity of the slave community. This article reveals instead how enslaved elders were viewed as negative influences by those who chose to fight or take flight. Whether in counselling against direct resistance, appearing resigned to bondage, or actively conspiring against rebels and runaways, enslaved elders could be portrayed by their younger peers as people who had been unwilling to make the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. Their fates should be pitied but could also be avoided. These were men and women who had survived slavery, but they had not resisted, and this distinction had personal and political implications for contemporaries.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 0144-039X
Funders: Leverhulme Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 February 2021
Date of Acceptance: 2 February 2021
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2022 16:36

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