tv Southern White Women Slave Owners CSPAN May 4, 2020 8:46am-9:49am EDT
>> these are just three examples of some of the newspaper advertisements that i collected as part of the research for this book, which reflect a number of things. one, that white mothers were creating such a demand for enslaved mothers' services and labor as wet nurses that they were not only putting these ads, placing these ads in southern newspapers, but that also, what you don't see in these, but in others, what also becomes clear is that white women were also some of the individuals who were supplying these white mothers with the enslaved mothers and wet nurses that they wanted, that they were seeking. here, these three are examples of enslaved wet nurses seeking enslaved wet nurses either to purchase or to hire. and what i found also is that there was a really important intersection and connection between the market in enslaved
wet nurses and the slave market proper. so, most of the men and individuals who were offering enslaved women for sale to serve in this capacity were also slave traders who made their living buying and selling enslaved people. so, in addition to that, when we attend closely to what enslaved and formerly enslaved people had to say about white women's economic investments in slavery, it becomes clear that they had so much to tell us about the institution. slavery and the roles that white women played in the slave market economy and in their continued captivity. we learn that when they said that they belonged to white women, they meant belonged to by law. sally nightingale owned alice marshall and her mother, for example. and marshall claimed that her mistress' husband, jack, "ain't had nothing to do with me and my mother because they belonged to the misses by law," and not her husband.
so, what you see here is what is referred to as a lost friends ad. also, typically, they were referred to as information wanted ads. and these are very unique in large part because they emerge right as the civil war is coming to an end and also in the years following the civil war. and what they reflect is, formerly enslaved people's attempts to reconstitute their families. so, all of those individuals who belong to their families and communities that had been sold away from them, that they wanted to reconnect with, family members, children and mothers and fathers and even brothers and uncles who they had lost contact with because of sale and separation. they placed these ads in order to try to reconnect with those individuals, to find those people and to reconstitute their families. and so, these advertisements also show more than simply their attempts to reconnect with their families, but they also show how
those separations occurred in the first place. and they highlight -- in many of them, they highlight the owners who were responsible not simply for their sale, but their separation. here, what you show -- here what i'm showing is an advertisement placed by caroline maeson, seeking information about her family members. and so, what she says here is that she was owned by betsy mason, a white woman, and was sold by her as well. so, she doesn't simply say, you know, that she inadvertently was sold by some man who was related to betsy. she identifies betsy as her legal owner, but also the person who was ultimately responsible for the separations that occurred after those sales took place. this is another advertisement which goes a little bit farther, more deeper, and shows more
complex elements or dimensions of slavery. william may's advertisement shows several things, not simply about white slave-owning women and heir families, but also their business practices. so he not only identifies his female owner, telalice stokes, in this advertisement, he also described the conflicts within her family over her property and her property rights. he argues, or he tells us that jack sampson, his owner's grandson, stole his mother and siblings from telalice, so a grandson and a grandmother. he is not willing to recognize the kind of inviability of telalice stokes' property rights in this particular case. but what he also tells us is that while telalice stokes held legal title to her while she was his owner, that she would hire him out. so he refers to this process of
hiring out as living with jemison at the time. in the top element, he talks about jack samson's decision to sell him away from his family -- i mean, steal his family away from him, and also talks about telalice's business practices, meaning she would hire him out, and then receive his wages in return for the labor that he performs for jimson in this particular case. and here, it's really -- these sources really get at some of the kind of, again, these more complex dimensions of slavery that often don't enter into the kind of popular understanding of the institution and of the ways in which enslaved people were passed between people, how those separations occurred, et cetera. so, here, what gye smith is telling us is that he and his wife were separated from their
children and that his children were drawn. refers to a process of being drawn by different members of his owner's family, some of whom were women. but in doing so, he also talks about the legal process by which these separations took place. he doesn't use all the terms that we would like to -- that we would think to look for, but he very plainly tells us that while these separations of family members didn't take place in the slave market, they nonetheless brought about the same kinds of traumatic severances from loved ones. so what he tells us is that this process of being drawn and falling to someone refers to the process that happens during an estate, the administration of a deceased person's estate in this particular context. so, his owner dies. and then after that owner died, all of his property was then -- they would, in fact, have a
drawing. so very much like a lottery. so they would put the names of the individual heirs into a bag or hat, and that individual heir would also, the name would also be written alongside a group of enslaved people, or that person would draw. so they would draw either their names out of a hat, and then that person would then be told what property they received, or they would draw out a piece of paper that had a list of property that they would receive. so there are a variety of ways that this ritual took place. and so, they literally did, in fact, draw enslaved people as a part of this estate division process. and so, that is what -- that's what gye is referring to here. and so, this is not simply something that enslaved people talked about in legal, in terms that aren't necessarily proper legalees, but these recollections are also reflected in documents that appear in
archival collections throughout the south. what you see here is a handwritten document that shows exactly what gye smith is referring to, an estate division in which it lists the individual enslaved people that are a part of that deceased person's estate, and it also shows the ages of those enslaved people. it shows the values, the estimated values of those enslaved people. and then towards the bottom, at the very bottom of this document, it shows which heirs drew which enslaved people. and so, what i thought was really remarkable about this document, and in relationship to what gye shows in his lost friends ad, is that elizabeth henry, the very top line there, elizabeth henry drew more enslaved people than the other
heir, richard henry, did. and why is this important? what i show in the book is that colonial historians, so historians who look at slavery in the colonial period in the country, have shown that slave-owning parents would typically give their daughters more slaves than any other form of property. they would give them other property and they would give them money and they would give them, in some cases i've seen stocks and bonds given to daughters, but they would often give their daughters far more enslaved people than other forms of property, particularly land. and they would give their sons the land, so that when those two, when that couple got together, they would have everything they needed to get a start, to get a start on that new life that they were going to be living. i see the same thing happen in the 19th century. so throughout the 19th century, you see similar patterns where slave-holding parents would also give their daughters more enslaved people than land.
and this is reflective of the fact that even if richard did not receive land, he actually -- you can see that kind of inheritance practice play out here in this document by showing that she received, elizabeth received more slaves than the other heir, which might suggest also that he received land in addition to receiving those enslaved people. and so, i think these sources are really important to showing kind of the process by which i wrote the book, because i centered and foregrounded the experiences of the accounts and reflections of formerly enslaved people in order to lead me in more productive directions and additional directions in relationship to the sources. so, by looking at just fragments of information -- data, for those scientists that might be
in the room or mathematically inclined folks in the room -- by using the data that formerly enslaved people provided, i was able to piece together some of the details of the lives of the female owners that they identify. and so, this is a really important or a really interesting example of that process for me. so, james skinner was a reverend who lived in yazu county, mississippi. and on april 20th, 1879, he placed this lost friends ad in the "southwestern christian advocate," looking for his brother edward. and so, the last time john had seen edward was on october 12th, 1860, in georgetown, and in the district of columbia, right where we are today. and so, not long after the brothers crossed paths that day, john and his family were forced to leave edward behind when their owner did what historians
and what individuals at the time referred to as being refugeed. so his owner refugeed them to mississippi and compelled them to leave the district and leave edward behind. and then one year after john placed his first lost friends advertisement, he still hadn't found edward. so he placed another, this time offering more detail. and so, each of these advertisements made one point clear -- angelica chu -- although as you can see here, he spells her name differently in both advertisements, but nevertheless, he identifies annjeloco chuw, who ordered that process of refugeeing and she was the reason he and his family were still searching for edward. so initially, it was difficult for me to find annjeloco, in large part because of the operations in spelling and the ways he refers to her in the advertisements. in the first yellow box on the
left, he refers to her as mrs. ann jeloco chuw, and the widow of phrisby chuw with a "ph," so jot that down. then i went to the second advertisement and said, he's doing something completely different the second time. is this the same person? what's going on here? you can see he refers to her as mrs. angelo chuw. and so, i said, okay, i know that in this period, and even sometimes today, when a woman is married, and even if a woman is widowed, she may be referred to as misses, but by her husband's first and last name. so i said, okay, is she the widow of angelo chuw? like, what's going on here? so i'm looking at the details. i'm like, okay, we know that they lived in -- we know that he's in yazu, mississippi, now. we know that he was in georgetown because he says that. and we know that this woman's last name is chuw, either spelled with a "u" or an "e." we'll figure it out. so, i started to enter that
information into what, as luck would have it, ancestry.com. i know they've been in some trouble lately. but nevertheless, it's a wonderful resource where you can find many of the really extraordinary archival documents that the national archives has available on site here. and so, i was able to find phrisby! so i said, wait, there he is! so, i found phrsby freeland chew. i found angelica's husband, his obituary in this newspaper. and obituaries are really interesting. even though they're macabre, they're very dark, very depressing pieces of kind of archival fragments, if you want to call them that, but nevertheless, they often give these really rich descriptions of these people's lives, of the deceased person's life, and you can really see kind of migrations. you can see all kinds of things. and that's what apparent in phrisby's obituary.
so it tells us that, yes, he was married to mrs. chew. it does not identify her by name, but he does refer to yazoo county, some, which is where james skinner is at the time he placed his lost friends advertisements. so we have that. that's one corroboration. then he talks about -- it talks about his children. it talks about the fact that he was on his way to the government at washington, so it tells us he had been appointed to a governmental position, which would, again, not only corroborate what james skinner is talking about, or placing him and edward and his family in d.c., but also why they were in d.c. and how the heck, you know, where the connection between yazoo, mississippi, yazoo county, mississippi, and d.c. came from. so, it tells us why the chews were in washington, d.c., and then it tells us how he died. and so, this was a really interesting component, because again, it corroborates what james is saying, this formerly enslaved person is saying. but it also gives some details
about angelica's life, her migrations, how she's moving around the country or parts of the country at this moment. and then, you know, i'm about to have a super nerdy moment on you. but then i found angelica chew's father's will. for those who are into geneal y genealogy, for those who are into any kind of history, you know that this is, like, you know, this is like archival gold. and so, for me, it was really important, again, because it underscored not simply these kind of parental relationships between parents and daughters and the ways in which their inheritance practices almost ensured that white women who received enslaved people would be deeply and profoundly invested in the institution and its perpetuation, and even in continuing to invest economically in the institution by buying and selling enslaved people after they received
inheritance such as this one, but it also shows how they were able to maintain control over and exercise control over the enslaved people that they inherited. so, how does it do that? so, in this yellow box, what it says -- and i'll just read it to you, because it is not, you know, i think immediately apparent to a lot of you what it says. so, it says -- i'm going to say it in a very, what i would imagine george washington biscoe might sound like in these moments. "heaven made gifts by way of advancement to my dear daughter, angelica chew, and desiring to make my dear daughter emma's share of my estate proportionate with her said sisters, i give and bequeath to my dear wife, ann marie biscoe, entrust for the sole and separate use of our said daughter emma the following servants." . and then he describes the servants that emma will receive. so, why is this important? why did i get excited about
this? so, what it tells us is that angelica -- sometime during the course of her life, before her father died, he gave her her portion of his estate. and that's important for me and important for us to understand, i think, in large part because when we think about slavery and we think about inheritances, we often think that happens just when a person dies and that when they leave a particular heir property in their will. but what this shows is that -- and this is an argument that i make in the book -- is that slave-owning parents didn't just leave their daughters enslaved people as their property in their wills. they gave them enslaved people over the course of their lives, even from infancy as birthday gifts, as christmas presents, and especially as wedding gifts. so, they would often give them a group of enslaved people, as i mentioned earlier, upon notification that they were going to get married.
so they would typically have a ritual at the recital. so, the wedding -- no, the reception. i didn't have a rekremsiception because i was poor when i got married, so i didn't have a reception. but at the reception, they would essentially line up the enslaved people, and then there would be kind of an announcement made at the wedding reception, that essentially granted the wife of the daughter, the newlywed daughter, her wedding present, which would involve a group of -- which would entail a group of enslaved people. so, what george washington biscoe is saying here is that he already gave angelica her share, and that likely means that she received those enslaved people at the time of her wedding or sometime over the course of after she got married, okay? so, that's one thing, that really important thing that it shows. and what it also reflects is that as historians and as genealogists, that we can look elsewhere to try to make these connections, that wills are
important, but that they're not the end all, be all to understanding property bequests, property transfers between white southerners, or southerners, or any folks that had the ability to own property and to transfer that property to someone else. what it also shows is an important legal clause that many slave-holding parents not only built into their wills, as we see here, but also in trust estates. so, these would be very much like trust funds that are established for wealthy folks these days, you know. so we're familiar with trust funds. so what slave-owning parents would often do as well is, if they gave their daughters property before they married or before they died in their wills, like we see here, they would do so by creating a trust. and they would put that property in a trust, appoint a trustee. sometimes it would be the
husband. sometimes it would be the father or a male family member. sometimes it was even a woman. as you see here, george appoints his wife as emma's trustee. so he creates a separate trust estate, a separate trust fund for emma, and he puts ann in charge of that estate, that property, until she comes of age. and he states here the underlined clause. he puts in that really important clause -- "entrust for the sole and separate use of our said daughter, emma." this has such power in a legal context, because what it says, what it's making clear, is that george washington did not want emma's future husband to have any control over the property that he was giving to emma. and so, by saying "entrust for the sole and separate use of emma," he is essentially telling
her husband, ha, ha, ha! you thought you were going to get your grubby hands on this property, but no. so, slave-owning parents and their daughters are working together before they get to the point in which women might be fearful that their husbands might dispose of their property in ways that they do not agree with. you also might be wondering why that would be necessary. some of you may know that when a woman, a single woman or widowed woman got married or remarried in this period, there was a legal doctrine referred to as coverture, which essentially said that, upon marriage, any of the property that those women brought into marriage, any property that they might acquire after marriage, either by inheritance or by purchase, would automatically become her husband's. after that point after marriage, she wasn't able to enter into contracts in her own name, to create a business in her own
name, to go into court and sue on her own behalf. so, what this particular clause does is it circumvents some of those con strains. it circumvents the property and wealth constraint. so it essentially allows for emma to maintain control of any property that she brings into the marriage. in order to continue to own property after the marriage, he would have had to have this will entered into the court and authorized or recognized by the courts, authenticated by the courts. and this is something that he certainly did, because we have the record here. if we didn't, it would probably be in some private paper somewhere and we'd never know it existed. so, this is a really important way, not only that slave-owning parents ensured that their daughters would not be at the will of, you know, husbands that might not have their best interests in mind, but also how they were able to continue to
secure ownership over enslaved people and to maintain control over them, even when the law on the books looks like they shouldn't have that ability and have that power and control. so, this is one of those documents that got me really excited. and i was also able to find this extraordinary document. so, at the beginning of my commen comments, actually during the introduction, you were told about the d.c. emancipation act. so, on april 16th, 1862, d.c. did pass the emancipation act in the district of columbia, which provided compensation for any slaveholders that were willing to accept the emancipation of enslaved people in the district. and if they were willing to do that. and then submit an application for compensation listing the enslaved people that they were claiming as their own.
they could, in fact, receive a sum of money from the federal government to pay them for the enslaved people that they owned and that they were willing to allow to be free and emancipated. this is angelica chew's emancipation application for compensation. application for compensation after emancipation. i think that's a better way to refer to it. and what it also shows is exactly some of the information, those details. it corroborates some of the same details that james skinner provided in his lost friends ad. so, in the yellow box on the left, it shows the names of ann biscoe, who's angelica's mother, angelica's name as well as em emma's name. so it goes back to the will and in some ways goes back to james skinner's information that he details in those advertisements. but it lists john skinner -- james skinner, i'm sorry, james, and some of his siblings, as
well as his mother in the yellow box. at that time, their surnames were gray, was gray. and so, he states that in his lost friends ad. so, these are some of the ways that i operated as i wrote this book. using those really interesting and seemingly disconnected fragments of information that james provided in those lost friends ads, i was able to dig a little deeper and find all of these other archival documents that were elsewhere -- legal documents, obituaries, so newspaper advertisements, as well as civil war-era financial documents, what would be considered a legal but also a financial document, to corroborate some of the information that james was telling us, but also tracing and trying to reconstruct some details of angelica chew's life as well.
and so, what i think is also interesting is that it wasn't just formerly enslaved people that were talking about white women's economic investments in the institution. there were a host of other individuals and entities that similarly described or documented white slave-owning women's economic investments in the institution, their slave ownership. so, at the very top, the federal government did, in fact, document white women's slave ownership in the census. so what's really interesting about the census, which you have ample access to through the nara, is that in 1840, the census looks very different than it does in 1850 and 1860. so in 1840, the census looks very much like the patriarchal household that we envision in the 19th century. so, it documented and identified
by name simply the male head of household. and if there was a female head of household because she might be a widow, it would identify that individual by name. and then all the other inhabitants in that household, all of the other residents in that household would simply be checked off under these categories. so white women, white women age, you know, 0 to 12, you know. and they'd check off all these little boxes and enumerate individuals, but they wouldn't name them. they wouldn't identify them by name. so, you couldn't tell who owned property in that household, whether women owned enslaved people in that household. it just kind of bunched all of the other residents in that household together. but in 1850 and 1860 -- well, 1850, people i guess thought it was important to say, hey, you know, we have all these enslaved people living in the country. it'd probably be a good idea to know just how many there are, so they started to count them. unfortunately, they didn't name
enslaved people in the 1850 census, and then in the 1860 census, but what they did start to do is name the residents of white households, identify them by name, no matter whether they were male or female, so we can gather that information. but they also started to enumerate individual slave holdings throughout the nation. so, what you see here is a page out of the tennessee census, reflecting the slave holding of mrs. sarah m. rhodes. so, it identifies the person who owns the slaves for the very first time you're seeing this, at the federal level, anyway. and then it enumerates the total number of enslaved people that she is claiming as her own. and so, you can see she had a pretty sizable slave holding. this number is pretty typical. so, the typical slaveholder
wasn't, you know, the person who owns 1,000 slaves. there were actually slaveholders that owned thousands of slaves, particularly in louisiana. but the typical slave owner owned ten enslaved people or less. women typically owned five or less. so, these women that i talk about in the book are, in fact, part of the majority of slaveholders, which, admittedly, were a small number of southerners. so, i'm not arguing in any way in this book or at this talk that, you know, slave owners were all southerners. there they were a small percentage of all southerners, but women, they were among the majority of slaveholders, meaning that they typically owned ten enslaved people or less. sarah owns a few more than ten. so, she's right on the edge of becoming, you know, a more, what would be considered an elite slaveholder here. but this makes it possible now to be able to say not simply
that there were, you know, slave-owning women, but actually to tell us just how many there may have been, to provide calculations, concrete numbers for those who are hungry for numbers. because some historians are really hungry for numbers. and so, by looking at census data -- i've been looking at census data for several years now and collecting it and looking specifically at slave-owning women, of the slave holding women in the census data. i've been able to see or to show that in some regions, women may have constituted up to 40% of slaveholders. prior estimates placed them at 10%. so, by looking at the rich sources, some of which are available here at nara, like the census information, i'm able to start to piece together some of the kind of details that are really important for us to know as a nation, in particular, how these women are not simply
invested economically in the institution of slavery, but also in kind of racially divided social order that characterized our nation and continues to shape our encounters with each other today. and at the state level. so that was at the federal level. but at the state level, what i thought was really interesting is that, on the one hand, you know, i talked about the legal doctrine of coffiof coverture, law says women shouldn't have the ability to own property after they get married, exercise all of these different kind of legal and economic -- to engage in all of these economic and legal activities. but at the same time, you have state laws like this one from missouri that identify women and recognize white women as slaveholders right in the laws. so, this law is essentially --
is reflective of kind of what they call black codes. so these are laws that were specifically pertaining to the actions of enslaved people and also free black people who would often constitute the minority in this period. but what you see here is that there are constant references to the mistress, constant references to not belonging to him or her, to be her own, her plantation or tenement. so, the laws on the books of our states in this moment are not simply saying, hey, this woman may exercise a certain kind of power in her husband's stead, or if there are no men around. the law is actually saying she is equally empowered, equally emboldened by the law to engage with, to interact with enslaved people in this way, to behave in these particular ways. but it also recognizes that the
law holds these slave-owning women accountable for enslaved people's misdeeds. so that's huge. that's huge. but the laws at the state level are recognizing the importance that women's ownership, but also their importance to maintaining a system of surveillance that keeps enslaved people in their place. and what's also really interesting is that at the city level, what you see is that cities like new orleans are, they need laborers. and slave-owning women have them. so, they would often contract with slave-owning women as they did with other slave owners in the city to work on public works. and so, here what you see is a receipt that was issued by the city of new orleans to miss eliza farrell for roses work on the public works. so she received $1.50, which is a pretty significant amount for that period of time, for rose's
labor. so again, the cities are documenting the property ownership, the slave ownership of white women in the south. now, this document probably looks really funky to you guys from over there, from out there, but what it shows, again, is a way in which the city municipal officials recognized women as slave owners. so, in new orleans, this is an -- if you've never been, i highly recommend it. it's an extraordinary city where it's kind of characterized by this really vibrant, small merchant, small mercantile culture. so, there are all these peddlers, what we refer to as peddlers or vendors that kind of are -- immerse you in all kinds of products and things in the city. and women, white women, were a part of that mercantile culture. and so, the city is really interested in finding out who all these merchants are. they are issuing licenses to
these merchants, and they want to know who needs a license. so they begin to create a census specifically of the merchants in the city. and this is a page out of that cens census. and so, what you see here, the first red arrow is madam harriet. so, madam harriet is operating an oyster restaurant on gravier and philippa streets. and not far from her are two slave traders, c.f. hatcher, who is quite notorious for his engagement in the slave trade as well as d. weiss, so david weiss, weiss towards the bottom. so, what this shows is there are these ideas that the slave market was a vice, that it was kind of centered, like put in a little, dark corner of the city and you only went there, kind of like a red-light district. like i think people think of the slave market as operating in red-light districts, but that wasn't the case at all. what this reflects is that this kind of commerce, the slave trade, the purchase and sale of
enslaved people was central to the commercial districts of new orleans and that women were a part of those commercial districts. so there was no way that women could avoid slave markets, even if they never bought a slave, they could not avoid encountering the slave market. and even in some cases benefiting from offering their goods or their services to those individuals who were invested in and involved in the slave trade. and that is not how that is supposed to look. so, i apologize for that. but essentially -- let's see. so, there were -- i can tell you what it's supposed to look like. so, this would have been -- if it had behaved itself -- been a newspaper advertisement placed by a local jailer. so, when an enslaved person ran away and was captured, people would take those captured runaways to their local jailer, and then the local jailer would then interrogate that enslaved
person. so he would ask them what their names were, where they came from, and who owned them. and they would take that information and post it in the newspaper. and in there, they would say, this person says that they belong to you. if you are the rightful owner of this person, come down to the jail, bring proof of ownership, and then you can take them away. so in this particular advertisement that you do not see, there was an enslaved man who ran away, and the local jailer asked him who he belonged to, and he identified a female slave owner, a female owner in his advertisement. so, there are all of these ways in which there are, at the municipal level, the federal level, at the state level, city level, and on these kind of individual levels, you see people identifying women as invested in the institution of slavery. and so, what you see here is a slave trader's account book. so, when a slave trader, the
most meticulous ones, when they purchase enslaved people, they would identify the enslaved person sometimes by name, most often not by name, by age. they would say how much they paid for that person. and then who they sold that person to and for what amount. and this page out of john white's slave trade account book reflects the fact that he sold enslaved people to the same woman, mrs. m.r. johnson, four times. so, it reflects also the profit margin for the enslaved people that he sold to her as well. and when those sales were finalized, places like south carolina actually had preprinted bills of sale. these are very much like receipts that we receive today when we buy something. so, it would say -- well, in this particular case, elizabeth
morrison sold an enslaved woman to a notorious south carolina slave traders named ziba b. oakes for $410. it sounds like a small amount, but there is a website called measuring worth and you can actually put in the amount of money that the individual was purchased or sold for and will tell you the amount of purchasing power that money would have today. so using measuring worth to do that, i was able to calculate that. $410 would have been the equivalent of $13,600 in 2018 money. so that's a small amount back then, it seems, or today, it seems, but not necessarily back then. it was an extraordinary amount of money. and so, this receipt reflects the fact that women not only owned enslaved people, but they engaged in the selling and the purchase of enslaved people, too, and did so and connected
and interacted with slave traders, something that other historians have suggested that they didn't do on a regular basis. but looking at these kinds of documents reflects the fact that they did, in fact, do so on a regular basis. and i think what's really interesting about this one he here -- so, h. bonnabel is a man. there is a part of a highway in new orleans named after this guy. just really interesting to see how in a city like new orleans, slavery is everywhere but nowhere at the same time. but anyway, so, h. bonnabel is trying to hunt lucy down. so, lucy ran away from him and he is trying to find lucy. and what's really interesting is that he identifies three of lucy's previous owners. and so, he says captain kelly owned her at one time, then mrs. twogood owned her, then mrs. clark owned her. and by doing so, he creates this chain of ownership that allows for us to see not only kind of
violence of the market, the ways in which enslaved people were passed from person to person to person, but also the important role that white women played in that chain as well, the roles that -- their location on those chains, you know that there were, in fact, links, but also that they were also complicit and involved in creating the separations through the process of sale as well. and you probably can't see this clearly from where you are, but during the civil war, the confederacy needed fortifications to protect themselves, and they would often impress enslaved people from local slave owners to commandeer that work, get that work done.
they wouldn't do it without paying them, though, so they would keep track of the payments to the slaveholders whose slaves were impressed into constructing these fortifications. and this is what was called a confederate slave payroll, a document that is housed in the national archives here, and there are thousands and thousands and thousands of them. and what it shows is that women were counted among these slaveholders whose enslaved people were impressed by the confederacy, but also they were some of those paid for the work that those enslaved men, typically men, did. so, you have eliza sims is listed on -- let's see if i can -- yeah. so, eliza sims and her son are listed there. you have mary sims there. let's see where i can find the other one. oh, there's anne mansfield there. and even though her name is, there are initials here, this is
ella v.cosby. so i found that corroborated that in additional documents beyond the slave payroll. but what this also shows, again, is that one of the things that's really interesting, when people ask me about the numbers, is they say, well, you know, how many are there? and i talk about the difficulties with coming to a precise quantity because of things like this. so, this, the fact that ella is listed not as ella, but as e.v. cosby, makes it sometimes difficult to know the all-over, the complete number of enslaved people -- i mean, slave-owning women -- because of the fact they were often referred to in the documents only by their initials, so you're unable to identify them, whether they were women or not in some cases. so that makes it difficult to come to a concrete number more broadly, but it's just a hiccup along the way. but nevertheless, it shows that
women even into the civil war era are benefiting from the labor of enslaved people. then even into, again, the civil war era, you see that slave-owning women are hunting down enslaved people. and even when you would think the jig is up, you know, is this february -- or is it april 9th, that lee surrenders -- they are still hunting down enslaved people. and so, ultimately, these are the kinds of documents that i used to construct the narrative that i tell, and they were her property. and it becomes -- after i kind of have been working on this book for ten years, this is what i hope the book does. it takes a picture. this image, you can find this image in hundreds of books, if not thousands of books. and rarely is anyone interested in what i highlight here, which
is that there are many women, many children that are at the auction, even though it's a pictorial illustration. it may be based on fact, may not be based on fact. but nevertheless, women were everywhere. they were hiding in plain sight. it just takes a little bit more, a more closer, kind of perspective, a lens upon which to kind of show their presence and their roles and their importance in the institution more broadly. so, thank you so much, everybody, for listening and for being here. [ applause ] the senate returns today for legislative work with a vote scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on an executive nomination. later in the week, work possible on pfizer reauthorization and talks will likely continue off the floor on future coronavirus relief legislation.
watch the senate live starting at 3:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. the house, after consultations with members and the attending physician, is not expected to resume legislative business until at least the week of may 11th. until then, they continue to hold pro forma sessions every three days, as bipartisan negotiations continue on possible options for remote voting. follow live senate coverage on c-span2, the house on c-span. in 1962, president kennedy authorized the creation of the army special photographic office, to take pictures and film of the vietnam war. next, veterans who served in the office share their experiences. from the national archives, this is about an hour and a half. >> now i'll ask all vietnam veterans or any united states veterans who served on active duty in the u.s. armed forces at any time from november 1st 1955,
to may 15th, 1975, to stand and be recognized. [ applause ] veterans, as you leave the mcgowan theater after tonight's program, national archive staff and the volunteers will present each of you with the vietnam veteran lapel pin. on the back of the pin is embossed "a grateful nation thanks and honors you." the united states of america vietnam war commemoration is a national initiative, and the lapel pin is the nation's lasting memento of thanks. last veterans day, we opened our current special exhibition remembering vietnam in the lawrence o'brien gallery upstairs. if you haven't already, i hope you will take some time to go through it before it closes on january 6th. he