Resistance: Women's Resistance



Kenneth Damas
Stacia Godwin
Roger Ivans
Melissa Montano
Mauricio Tellez

Harriet Tubman worked as a field hand in Maryland. She worked there up until 1849 when her master died. After his death, she was handed over to Anthony Thompson who soon planned to sell the slaves to another state in the Deep South. Somehow she found this information out and because of this information, she decided she was going to escape. She tried to convince her brothers and her husband (a free man) to go with her in her escape. They refused so she went alone.

Hiding by day and walking by night, she soon reached Pennsylvania. She worked as a cook, a laundress, and a scrubwoman there and in Cape May, New Jersey. She worked in order to save money to go back and retrieve her sister and children. She arrived in Baltimore in 1850 and rescued them. A few months later, she retrieved her brother and two other men. In 1851, she went back for her husband who refused to even see her since he had already taken another wife. Shortly thereafter, she became involved with the abolition movement.

Women were able to resist by using their positions in the "big house" to work against their Masters. Poison was a common use of resistance and theft was another. One slave named Clara used her position in the big house to steal bullets for her son to murder the Master.

Rape and Resistance

Many slave women were raped by their Masters. One woman named Celia fought back. In 1850, when Celia was 14, a man named Robert Newsom bought her. Soon after her purchase, Newsom raped Celia and from then on regarded her not only as his property, but also his concubine. For five years, he repeatedly assaulted her and she gave birth to two children, at least one fathered by him. Eventually, she tried to stop him when another slave called George became her lover. After asking Newsom to stop, and telling him she would hurt him if he didn't, he still made sexual advances towards her so she obtained a large stick. Later that night, Newsom came to her cabin. As he approached her, she retreated into the corner where she kept the large stick. He then came towards her and she raised the stick with one hand and hit him in the head. Now afraid he would angrily harm her, she raised the stick with both hands and again hit him on the head, this time killing him. She burned the body in the fireplace of her cabin.

Many women told their daughters in these situations to fight back -- "Fight, and if you can't fight, kick; if you can't kick, then bite".



Figures 1 shows Harriet Tubman on the left and some runaway slaves.

scrubwoman- a woman who does general cleaning

  rape- the crime of engaging in sexual acts, esp. involving penetration of the vagina or anus, usually forcibly, with a person who has not consented; specif., this crime committed by a man upon a woman or girl


Harriet Tubman and runaway slaves
Harriet Tubman
and runaway

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