To 'Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women's Lives and Labors after the Civil War
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To 'Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women's Lives and Labors after the Civil War

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  169 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Tera 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 master. We witness their drive as they build neighborhoods and networks and their energy as they enjoy leisure hours in dance halls and clubs. We learn of their militance and the way t...more
Paperback, 322 pages
Published September 15th 1998 by Harvard University Press (first published May 20th 1997)
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Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow by Jacqueline JonesThe Ways of White Folks by Langston HughesThe Street by Ann PetryA Million Nightingales by Susan StraightTo 'Joy My Freedom by Tera W. Hunter
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"To 'Joy My Freedom" was certainly an informative read and contained a lot of information that usually isn't well known regarding African American women after the Civil War, but the book just wasn't that interesting or exciting of a read to recommend it any higher.

Once you start to get into the heart of it, "To 'Joy My Freedom" just sort of gets boring and begins to read like a history textbook. It would have been nice if some of the events were elaborated on more thoroughly or detailed better t...more
Hunter examines the lives of southern black women, particularly southern domestic workers, by narrowing her focus in on the development of the city of Atlanta after the Civil War. Since many ex-slaves moved to Atlanta and then migrated again north during the Great Migration decades later, this makes for an excellent focal point for the topic. By examining black women's lives in Atlanta both in and out of their employer's homes, she is able to dissect the roles of race, class, and gender in the e...more
An well-written and detailed book about the Black women’s resilient struggles to claim their bodies, femininity, freedom, and political roles in the Urban South, especially Atlanta, from the Civil War to the First World War. The book reveals a recurring theme of Southerners’ fright of Black women’s agency, a fright that droves them to debase their position by any means possible, such as the enact of Jim Crow and support of Ku Klax Klan. However, Black female, and Black society in general, were p...more
This was assigned for the "Black Women in America" class that I am CAing for. I really enjoyed the book a great deal. Hunter's prose is very accessible, and I think she does a fantastic job of making the history of black women after the Civil War accessible and interesting to an undergraduate audience while still maintaining scholarly rigor. That said, I am left wanting to know more after many of her anecdotes and, while I understand that she couldn't possible give us all the details on every en...more
Donna Scoggins
Enlightened me about life for Black domestic workers in the South during and particularly after slavery. Main focus was the Atlanta area. Educational institutions, neighborhoods, and streets mentioned are thriving communities today. Provided an appreciation for what our female domestic workers went through to get us where we are today.
Fun drinking game for the book: take a shot every time the author uses the phrase "African American Women" when referring to experiences that were commonplace to all African Americans. Just a weirdly paced book that can't make up its mind on what its trying to say or what it wants to be about.
Excellent overview of the lives of Southern black women during the Reconstruction period and the early part of the twentieth century. Well written and covers most of the major historiographical issues in African-American women's history for the period.
Oct 05, 2008 April rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: feminists, history buffs
A detailed look at urban Atlanta slaves and antebellum Atlanta - Urban life is often overlooked in discussions of the slavery south. Interesting, but rather dry historical writing at times.
Apr 09, 2008 Susan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like history
Recommended to Susan by: Prof.Rose
This is a really great work about the history of Southern Black Women. It's great for people interested in women's history, American history, or Africana studies.
Excellent, well-research, and innovative study of women in the post-bellum South.
Charlie Rose
This book was almost all new information for me. A very informative read.
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Tera W. Hunter is a scholar of U. S. history, with specializations in African-Americans, gender, labor, and the South. She is particularly interested in the history of slavery and freedom. She is currently writing a book on African-American marriages in the nineteenth century. Her first book received several prizes including the H. L. Mitchell Award from the Southern Historical Association, the Le...more
More about Tera W. Hunter...
The African American Urban Experience: Perspectives from the Colonial Period to the Present

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