Gender, Race, and Rank in a Revolutionary Age

The Georgia Lowcountry, 1750-1820

Gender, Race, and Rank in a Revolutionary Age

The Georgia Lowcountry, 1750-1820

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This definitive work thoroughly explores, for the first time, the often complicated ways in which ethnicity and social rank interacted to determine the relationships that were forged among four categories of women in the Revolutionary and early National Lowcountry. Betty Wood analyzes the experiences of enslaved African and African American women, free women of color, elite women of European ancestry, and underclass women of European descent.

Studying interactions between female slaves and free women of color, between plantation mistresses and their female slaves, and between the members of a "ladies" charitable society and the young "women" who received their help, Wood brings their diverse worlds to life, including colorful details of their work, religious practices, and even the hidden agendas in their social circles. She offers evidence of extensive family, racial, and social barriers to their awareness and development of a shared identity as women and concludes that although the boundaries between these groups were sometimes permeable, ties of gender seldom superseded considerations of social rank and ethnicity.

Provides a telling example of how the interrelationship of gender, race, and rank constructed early southern identities.

Georgia Historical Quarterly

An interesting and accessible book.

Virginia Quarterly Review

[A] painstaking analysis of an almost forgotten region and its even more forgotten women . . . The book serves as an excellent reminder that any generalization about women's lives or women's attitudes should be approached with extreme caution.

Journal of the Early Republic

Adds significantly to the growing body of literature on the intersection of race, class, and gender in early America . . . Provides very useful historiographical references and tantalizing glimpses into female relationships in the lower South . . . Wood's observations are sure to generate a great deal of new scholarship.

Journal of Southern History

About the Author/Editor

BETTY WOOD is a Reader in American History, Girton College, University of Cambridge. Her other works include Slavery in Colonial America, 1619-1775 and Women's Work, Men's Work: The Informal Slave Economies of Lowcountry Georgia, 1750-1830 (Georgia).