Books: Non-Fiction

To ‘joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and Labors After the Civil War

Book — Non-fiction. By Tera W. Hunter. 1998.
An examination of post-Civil War lives of African American women, focusing on their labor organizing, leisure, hope, and struggle.
Time Periods: Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876, Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899
Themes: African American, Labor, Racism & Racial Identity, Women's History

In To ‘joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and Labors After the Civil War, Dr. Tera W. Hunter follows African-American working women from their newfound optimism and hope at the end of the Civil War to their struggles as free domestic laborers in the homes of their former enslavers. Readers witness their drive as they build neighborhoods and networks and their energy as they enjoy leisure hours in dance halls and clubs.

Hunter describes their militance and the way they resisted efforts to keep them economically depressed and medically victimized. Finally, she reveals the despair and defeat provoked by Jim Crow laws and segregation and how they spurred large numbers of Black laboring women to migrate north. [Description from the publisher]

ISBN: 9780674893085 | Harvard University Press

If you missed the Teach the Black Freedom Struggle online class with Tera W. Hunter, you can listen to an audio recording below and find resources from the class here.

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