AfriGeneas Caribbean Research Forum
B'dos Slave Women - Book: "Natural Rebels"
Another very interesting book is "Natural Rebels: A Social History of Enslaved Black Women in Barbados" by Hilary McD. Beckles. The author uses 17th-19th century records, newspapers and correspondence to show that female slaves were central to the plantation economy, since they were expected to work as hard as the men and also to reproduce the slave class. They did not accept the system, and some of the methods they used to resist it are also discussed.
From Chapter I: "It was a 'plague' of female labourers that accounted for many of the problems faced by managers of Newton's plantation at the end of the 18th century.... Not only were the majority of slaves on his estate females, but they had clearly outnumbered males in the colony since 1715. No other British Caribbean sugar colony experienced this sex ratio in the labour force throughout most of the slavery period. This female predominance...was, moreover, true not only for blacks, but also for whites and free coloureds...[which]...distinguished Barbados from other slave plantation societies in the region. It was a woman's society if one uses demographic data as the sole criteria of description...."
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