Books: Non-Fiction

Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century

Book — Non-fiction. By Tera W. Hunter. 2019. 416 pages.
A comprehensive history of African American marriages in the nineteenth century.
Time Periods: Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Reconstruction, Laws & Citizen Rights

Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth CenturyAmericans have long viewed marriage between a white man and a white woman as a sacred union. But marriages between African Americans have seldom been treated with the same reverence. This discriminatory legacy traces back to centuries of slavery, when the overwhelming majority of black married couples were bound in servitude as well as wedlock, but it does not end there. Bound in Wedlock is the first comprehensive history of African American marriage in the nineteenth century. Drawing from plantation records, legal documents, and personal family papers, it reveals the many creative ways enslaved couples found to upend white Christian ideas of marriage. [Publisher’s description]

Winner of the Stone Book Award, Museum of African American History
Winner of the Joan Kelly Memorial Prize
Winner of the Littleton-Griswold Prize
Winner of the Mary Nickliss Prize
Winner of the Willie Lee Rose Prize

ISBN: 9780674237452 | Belknap Press


Learn more in the Zinn Education Project national report, “Erasing the Black Freedom Struggle: How State Standards Fail to Teach the Truth About Reconstruction,” and find teaching resources on Reconstruction below.

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