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Reflections on the Black Woman's Role in the Community of Sl

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Aaron Bradley

on 28 October 2015

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Transcript of Reflections on the Black Woman's Role in the Community of Sl

Reflections on the Black Woman's Role in the Community of Slaves
Main Idea
This article written by Angela Davis, describes her argument that it was impossible for women that were in slavery to serve as matriarchs in an era where slave owners viciously disrupted and destabilized families.
The Black Woman's Role
In Davis' article, she made note that "The strong hand of the slave owner dominated the Negro family, which existed at his mercy and often at his own personal instigation."(Pg83)
*She then goes on to describe one ex-slaves account on being forcibly married for the purpose of reproducing more healthy slave children. With this in mind, it can be seen that the women, being forced into marriage, for the sole purpose of producing children, took on the role of mothers, at the demand of the slave masters.
The Black Woman's Role
According to Davis' article, "The designation of the black woman as a matriarch is a cruel misnomer. It is a misnomer because it implies stable kinship structures within which the mother exercises decisive authority." (Pg.84)

The Black Woman's Role
Even in the mist of their captivity, the black woman was still responsible for maintaining an adequate living space and maintaining the condition of her "home". The article explains that when it came to the maintenance of the living quarters, "...the major responsibilities "naturally" fell to her." (Pg.86)
The Black Woman's Role
On page 87, that's where the specific roles of the black woman, in slavery, are addressed.
*She was expected to preform the natural tasks of caring for the home and men and the children, all of whom may not necessarily be naturally hers.
*Moreover, she was also expected to carry out the tasks assigned to her by her slave master, most of which benefited her in no way at all.

Angela Davis
Aaron A. Bradley
In the article, Davis goes on, describing the role of the black woman in slavery. Because the influences impressed upon the slave community by the white society, men assumed the position of authority among the women and children. Although this was the case, Davis disagreed with the idea because, the men could not lead a family that they did not construct. The family that they were all apart of was assembled at the service of the master. Even in this state, black women still took on the role of the provider.
Moreover, Davis states that "They all had to "provide" for master. The black woman was wholly integrated into the productive force." (Pg.88)
Works Cited:

Davis, Angela. "Reflections on the Black Woman's Role in the Community of Slaves." JSTOR.org. Massachusetts Review, Inc., 14 Sept. 2007. Web. 10 Oct. 2015. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/25088201?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents>.
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