Brooding Over Bloody Revenge
Enslaved Women's Lethal Resistance
by Nikki M. Taylor
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Pub Date 13 Jul 2023 | Archive Date 06 Jul 2023
From the colonial through the antebellum era, enslaved women in the US used lethal force as the ultimate form of resistance. By amplifying their voices and experiences, Brooding over Bloody Revenge strongly challenges assumptions that enslaved women only participated in covert, non-violent forms of resistance, when in fact they consistently seized justice for themselves and organized toward revolt. Nikki M. Taylor expertly reveals how women killed for deeply personal instances of injustice committed by their owners. The stories presented, which span centuries and legal contexts, demonstrate that these acts of lethal force were carefully pre-meditated. Enslaved women planned how and when their enslavers would die, what weapons and accomplices were necessary, and how to evade capture in the aftermath. Original and compelling, Brooding Over Bloody Revenge presents a window into the lives and philosophies of enslaved women who had their own ideas about justice and how to achieve it.
‘Brooding Over Bloody Revenge is a brilliant tour-de-force. This powerful set of case studies create a prism for illuminating African American women’s intellectual arc, their lived experience as enslaved bodies, and their powerful response to slavery’s lash and legacy. Nikki Taylor’s voice offers remarkably fresh and convincing insights concerning violence, gender, and American slave culture.’ Catherine Clinton - author of Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom
This book is a powerful, gripping, and violent telling of enslaved women’s resistance. It is hard, but necessary scholarship. The past five years have led to an explosion of cutting-edge research that centers black women in nuanced ways. I count Nikki Taylor’s new book as part of this welcome wave.’ Kellie Carter Jackson - author of Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence