Education, Literacy, and Gender in Antebellum Rural Alabama
"Education, Literacy, and Gender in Antebellum Rural Alabama" utilizes both nineteenth century slave autobiographies, as well as twentieth century Works Progress Administration (WPA) interviews of ex-slaves, to analyze literacy within the slave experience. The essay explores the ability to read and write through the themes of religion, race, gender, occupation, and education, focusing on a case study of rural Alabama. Like slavery itself, literacy among enslaved persons was not a monolithic phenomenon; rather, it varied significantly across region and even within a single household, with domestic, female slaves being taught to read significantly more often than their outdoor, male counterparts.
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