"Swing the Sickle for the Harvest Is Ripe"

"Swing the Sickle for the Harvest Is Ripe" : Gender and Slavery in Antebellum Georgia

3.57 (14 ratings by Goodreads)
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Examining how labor and economy shaped the family life of bondwomen and bondmen in the antebellum South

\u0022Swing the Sickle for the Harvest Is Ripe\u0022 compares the work, family, and economic experiences of enslaved women and men in upcountry and lowland Georgia during the nineteenth century. Mining planters' daybooks, plantation records, and a wealth of other sources, Daina Ramey Berry shows how slaves' experiences on large plantations, which were essentially self-contained, closed communities, contrasted with those on small plantations, where planters' interests in sharing their workforce allowed slaves more open, fluid communications. By inviting readers into slaves' internal lives through her detailed examination of domestic violence, separation and sale, and forced breeding, Berry also reveals important new ways of understanding what it meant to be a female or male slave, as well as how public and private aspects of slave life influenced each other on the plantation.

A volume in the series Women in American History, edited by Anne Firor Scott, Susan Armitage, Susan K. Cahn, and Deborah Gray White
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 25.4mm | 521.63g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252031466
  • 9780252031465

Review quote

"Berry's book adds a great deal to our understanding of the variety and complexity of slave life and makes a valuable contribution to scholarship both about Georgia and the antebellum South as a whole."--Journal of Interdisciplinary History "A well-researched and written book, readers interested in the history of African Americans, women, labor, slavery, and Georgia will find this book useful."--Civil War Book Review Berry's study is filled with rich, personal stories that, together with its brevity, make it an engaging book for use in undergraduate instruction. Berry has provided us with a useful overview of the significance of gender in shaping the experiences of enslaved laborers in antebellum Georgia."--Journal of the Early Republic "[Berry's] approach reveals new ways of looking at slavery. . . . Berry also raises questions about the relationship between southern and northern ideologies of labor and emerging definitions of what constituted work and skill in the nineteenth-century United States."--Journal of Southern History "Reconstructing the practices of slavery from plantation records, memoirs, and newspapers and the encounter with those practices through folk songs and ex-slave testimonies, Berry succeeds in capturing commonalities and differences in slavery in white-majority communities and African American-majority communities. . . .[An] important contribution to historiography. Recommended."--Choice "Berry's book contributes to our understanding about how slaveholders attempted to control slave labor and what men and women did to shape family lives within the confines of enslavement."--American Historical Review
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Rating details

14 ratings
3.57 out of 5 stars
5 14% (2)
4 43% (6)
3 29% (4)
2 14% (2)
1 0% (0)
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