Old-Age Justice and Black Feminist History: Sojourner Truth’s and Harriet Tubman’s Intersectional Legacies

February 15, 2021

In 1989 Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality to center black women’s experiences of “compounded” subordination at the nexus of race and sex discrimination.1 In the thirty years since, intersectionality has become a primary framework in women’s studies and a key methodology through which historians seek to account for the development of gendered racial capitalism.2 During that time, Crenshaw’s own analysis has shifted to better account for the significance of chronological age and life stage. Announced as an urgent call to focus on the experiences of black girls, Crenshaw’s new research clarifies that age cannot be added to a familiar list of identity categories such as gender, race, sexuality, and class but must be understood as the vector that moves individuals through these intersecting structures of domination during their lives.3 An intersectional approach to age and life stage thus necessitates a refinement of intersectionality itself from a heuristic grounded in spatial metaphors of standpoints and hierarchies to a temporal framework that clarifies the compounding of advantage and disadvantage over time. To date, intersectional scholars have paid much more attention to youth than to old age, building a vibrant interdisciplinary field of black girlhood studies that makes visible how black girls define and value themselves, how their experiences differ from those of white girls or black boys, and how they challenge institutions and political frameworks that construe them as problems when they know full well that racism, sexism, and classism are the issues that must be addressed.4 But what of old black womanhood? How might attention to the category “old black woman” transform the ways that we understand large-scale structures such as colonialism, slavery, and capitalism? How do black women draw on their embodied experiences of later life to articulate justice claims distinct from those promoted by younger black women and black girls?

Scholars have begun to answer these questions by focusing on the ideas and experiences of old black women in the United States, looking both at enslaved women in the antebellum South and free black women in the North. Stephanie Evans, for example, analyzes the historical wellness strategies expressed in the memoirs of black women centenarians.5 The importance of old women to enslaved families and communities emerges from Stephanie Shaw’s research on “grandmothers, granny women, and old aunts” in the antebellum South.6 Daina Ramey Berry clarifies that enslaved people defined their self-worth in terms of “soul values” that placed a premium on later life, honoring the oldest old for their survival skills and spiritual insight, even as enslavers discounted monetary values based on diminished fertility and work capacity, often classifying as “superannuated” those over forty years old.7 Leslie J. Pollard and Frederick Knight argue that traditions of mutual care rooted in West African respect and kinship patterns, sustained through slavery, shaped distinct strategies for supporting old people after emancipation, inspiring African American club women to create support networks for old people rooted in community integrity rather than charity.8

This scholarship suggests that the category of old black woman functioned differently from that of old person or old white woman, as black women’s longevity carried distinct political and spiritual significance for enslaved communities. In contrast, white male heads of household generally understood a comfortable old age as the reward for individual success in a competitive market economy and expected their aged wives, mothers, and aunts to recede quietly into the background, privately devoting themselves to serving family needs.9 Before the institutionalization of retirement as an age-based stage of life, when public support for the elderly relied on punitive regimes of county poor relief and older people feared being sent to the almshouse, old people who owned property used private contracts to secure care from adult children or other relatives in exchange for a promised inheritance.10 Enslaved black people were often the property used to secure the intergenerational security of slave-owning white families through estate auctions that destroyed black families. Black women understood full well that most white women would gladly sustain their own comfort at the expense of black futures and that white men’s claims to individual success relied on the exploitation of others.11 The timing of “old age” also diverged along racial lines. While European Americans sustained a long tradition that defined the start of old age around sixty years of life, they classified enslaved people as superannuated in their forties.12 The prematurity of old black womanhood in some ways echoed what fugitive Harriet Jacobs defined as “prematurely knowing” black girlhood, though the mechanisms for casting women out of their prime relied on desexualization and disposability, while the means for pushing girls into early adulthood were sexual assault and extractive labor demands.13 But we know much more about the history of black girlhood than we do about old womanhood. More research is needed to fully understand how old black women, and those who cared about them, developed knowledge and strategies to both understand and resist the ways in which pathways through later life functioned to sustain the dominance of white people, men, and property owners, and how these strategies changed during enslavement, emancipation, and Jim Crow segregation.

This article uses the tools of intellectual history to map a historical genealogy of black feminist claims to old-age justice. Following Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman as guides, I uncover the importance of old age as a critical framework through which these women approached what we would now call intersectionality. The two most prominent women to liberate themselves from enslavement by white settlers in the nineteenth-century United States, Truth and Tubman each paid substantial attention to old age as a category of analysis, clarifying how later life functioned to move people through intersecting structures of domination formed along lines of gender, race, and class, advantaging some and disadvantaging others in a relational process that unfolded over time. In their writings and political activism, both Truth and Tubman first focused on the structural salience of old age out of concern for their own enslaved parents and then generalized their analysis to demand economic justice for all old freed people after the Civil War. They were born roughly a generation apart: Truth around 1797 and Tubman about 1822. Their paths crossed, but they never became close allies, Truth reaching the peak of her influence in the 1870s and Tubman publicly campaigning for old-age support in the 1890s, notably when each was over seventy years old.14 What they shared was a sustained determination to center the needs of old, formerly enslaved black women in movements for social justice. Growing old in the public eye, they innovated embodied performances of black female longevity that connected personal experience to political agendas and challenged the distorting stereotypes and marginalization targeted at old freedwomen by white supremacists as well as black leaders invested more in youth than old age.15

By recognizing these women as black feminist age theorists and activists promoting old-age justice, we can begin to grasp how attention to later life reveals new dynamics in black women’s history. Where historians of black women and girls focus on the nexus of race and reproduction forged through the legal doctrine that enslaved children would follow the condition of the mother, and subsequent formulations of black motherhood as social pathology, Truth and Tubman raised questions about how racial inequality persisted in the organization of care work long after women’s fertility ended in midlife.16 Most significantly, they critiqued propertied white women’s celebration of a comfortable old age as the reward of virtuous life by pointing out the ways in which these women coerced care from enslaved women and domestic servants without providing any care in return. Truth and Tubman argued that this organization of care underwrote the longevity of some women at the expense of others who faced immiseration and premature death. Old black women who spent their youth working for white families deserved respect and security in later life, Truth and Tubman insisted. Both women linked what we now think of as necropolitics—“subjugation of life to the power of death,” in Achille Mbembe’s phrase—to the coercive organization of care work, or what Evelyn Nakano Glenn refers to as being “forced to care.”17 By recognizing Truth and Tubman as advocates of old-age justice, we can recover the foundational importance of later life to the history of intersectional black feminism while also identifying how slavery and domestic work structured the history of old age and, more generally, the mechanisms of biopolitical power in industrializing America.18

As this issue of the Radical History Review prompts new efforts to understand the history of old age, especially in relation to power and social justice, Truth and Tubman can serve as guides to the life-course dimensions of intersectional oppression that made the neglect of old black women central to racialized capitalism. This oppression and neglect worked not just through state policy but also within the intimate relations of household labor, and even within radical movements for social justice that positioned youth as the vital vanguard of the future and old women as worn-out representatives of the past. In her study of mass incarceration as a solution to the problems of surplus labor, capital, land, and state capacity generated by late twentieth-century deindustrialization, Ruth Gilmore defines racism as “the state-sanctioned or extralegal production and exploitation of group-differentiated vulnerability to premature death.”19 Gabriel Winant adds that the long-term-care industry emerged as a parallel structure for institutionalizing superannuated workers as medical patients and absorbing women, especially women of color, as low-wage health care workers.20 Looking back from these postindustrial formations to the nineteenth-century dynamics of racialized capitalism necessitates greater attention to households as sites for managing capital, labor, and care, a social formation that turned white women with access to property into supervisors with the power to command other women’s work and, in the process, determine who might thrive and who would suffer neglect or premature death. As Stephanie Jones-Rogers points out in her study of slave-owning white women in the antebellum South, it was enslaved people themselves who best understood these dynamics, testifying that the cultural ideal of dependent white womanhood was a pernicious myth that concealed white women’s active investment in the violent, sometimes deadly technologies of racial domination.21 Truth and Tubman chose to reveal these truths by highlighting the debts that white people in general, and white women in particular, owed to enslaved women who spent their youth caring for others and in turn required care themselves, a claim to justice rooted in a theory of aging as a relational process that can lead either to mutual care or to intensified exploitation.

The first point that Truth and Tubman raised about age in nineteenth-century America was a fundamental one: chronological age—the record of time since birth—was not a neutral fact but a racialized category imbricated with gradual emancipation in the North and the interstate slave trade in the South.22 Before government-issued birth certificates became widespread in the twentieth century, chronological age was a site of struggle and a field of power. Those with property, literacy, and intact kin networks kept private records in family Bibles or commercially printed family registers. Others had age assigned to them by enslavers or government officials.23 Truth found herself in the latter category. She was born on the cusp of New York’s 1799 gradual emancipation law. This legislation used birth dates to bind the children of enslaved women to white families for a fixed period of years and also empowered enslavers to generate birth records by registering with the town clerk “the name, age, and sex of every child so born.”24 Truth recalled how her enslavers denied her the numeracy required to calculate age, alienated her from her parents, and then assigned ages to her for their own profit.25 As she grew old, Truth made increasingly fantastic claims to her own longevity, daring critics to come up with documentation that she knew did not exist.26

Tubman was born on a plantation in Maryland and grew up under a legal regime that discouraged manumission and facilitated the sale of enslaved people, especially adolescents and young adults, to provide labor for enslavers expanding cotton cultivation in the Southwest.27 In 1845 Tubman hired a lawyer and documented the existence of a will freeing her mother at age forty-five along with her children, a directive that the white beneficiaries of the estate concealed, denying the age-based freedom to which her mother was entitled.28 Tubman joined other fugitives from southern slavery in excoriating enslavers who manipulated chronological age for profit, falsifying records and manufacturing age claims, and like Harriet Jacobs after her, she focused particular attention on the age-based vulnerabilities of enslaved women and girls.29 Historians have spent a great deal of effort trying to determine when Truth and Tubman were really born, but both women paid more attention to clarifying how enslavers manipulated age as a tool of racial domination.

Though concerned with the exploitation of enslaved girls, Truth and Tubman both focused on later life by emphasizing the plight of their enslaved parents. In her 1850 Narrative Truth recounted how her mother’s enslavers wore down her body through the constant demands of cooking and cleaning, sold her children, and then freed her in middle age to care for Truth’s ailing father, whose body was broken “more from exposure and hardship than from old age.” Care work thus emerged in Truth’s Narrative as a resource that enslavers extracted from her mother both during her enslavement and as a condition of emancipation when both parents became disposable to the white family who had long exploited them. Despite years of “faithful” service, Truth’s father “was no longer considered of value . . . now that he had commenced his descent into the dark vale of decrepitude and suffering.”30 Truth’s mother died in middle age and her father died a few years later, old and alone, unable to access the care he needed. Slavery ended in New York in 1827, but white families’ ability to extract care work from black women did not. Truth’s Narrative advanced a wide-ranging critique of the ways in which white women pushed the dirtiest and most demanding household tasks—including elder care—onto black women who never received the money or respect necessary to avoid precarity in later life.31 Tubman, for her part, worked to guide fugitives to freedom through the Underground Railroad, returning multiple times to Maryland to bring family and community members north. After liberating her parents in the late 1850s, she cast off her covert identity to appeal publicly for money to support them. She reminded abolitionists that emancipation in old age amounted to neglect unless housing, food, and care could be provided.32

Truth and Tubman both contributed to a national debate over whether slavery or free labor better provided for the needs of “superannuated” laborers. The fugitives from southern slavery who became abolitionist leaders before the Civil War, almost without exception, consistently pointed to the neglect of elderly enslaved people, grandmothers in particular, as proof that slavery was both immoral and inefficient. Proslavery apologists, meanwhile, argued that it was northern employers of free labor who wore out and then discarded workers.33 In the midst of the Civil War, Confederate defender John Bell Robinson painted Tubman’s liberation of her mother and father as a shocking “act of wickedness and cruelty in a child to her parents . . . two old slaves, over seventy years of age . . . abducted from good homes in a southern climate, and brought to and turned loose in the frigid zones of the north, to freeze to death or starve.”34 Tubman testified to slaveholders’ abuse of her parents but also held abolitionists accountable for ensuring that they, and elderly freed people generally, did not freeze or starve in the North. As northern abolitionists celebrated Tubman for leading the Combahee River Raid, she pointedly reminded northern allies not to let her parents “suffer” while she took risks for the cause.35 After the war she devoted her efforts to establishing mutual aid networks to support freed people, always emphasizing the particular needs of the elderly.36

Truth, meanwhile, drew up a petition in 1870 calling on the federal government to set aside a “portion of the public land in the West” for the resettlement of ex-slaves and to “erect buildings thereon for the aged and infirm.” As she explained in the 1878 version of her Narrative, enslaved people “have been a source of wealth to this republic. . . . Our unpaid labor has been a steppingstone to its financial success. Some of its dividends must surely be ours.” By Truth’s calculus, this was an intergenerational and interracial debt owed by all Americans to people who spent their youth enslaved.37 Truth never adequately acknowledged that this western land belonged to indigenous people, but her political priorities did draw attention to reparations for slavery as a component of old-age security.

Tubman, after her mother’s death in 1880, turned her concern for old age into a broader effort to raise funds for a home for aged African Americans on her land in Auburn, New York. She returned to the lecture circuit to publicize this effort, seeking contributions from African Methodist Episcopal Zion ministers, members of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, white women’s rights activists, and other “old abolitionists.”38 Victoria Earle Matthews deftly used Tubman’s presence at the inaugural meeting of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs in 1896 to rally divergent factions around her heroic legacy, and Pauline Hopkins included her, along with Truth, as “Famous Women of the Negro Race” in the Colored American.39 This elevation of Tubman as a respected elder provided a platform through which she could continue to speak in public and drum up contributions for her old-age home, but it often elided her expansive argument for old-age justice by focusing on her past achievements on the Underground Railroad more than her ongoing prioritization of elder care.

Truth and Tubman both defined aging as a relational process through which some people gained security by exploiting others, pointing to white women who commanded black women’s labor both during and after slavery. At the same time, both showed a remarkable ability to form alliances with white women whose support for moral reform, antislavery, temperance, women’s rights, or communitarianism opened up opportunities for understanding how old age disadvantaged women across race and class. When these white women pushed for reconfiguring life stages in ways that might improve the survival of black people, Truth and Tubman seized on this common ground. During the nineteenth century leading white women’s rights activists in the United States, Britain, and France elaborated the argument that white men maintained their power in part by sexualizing young girls and then degrading old women. Truth and Tubman supported this critique of how old age marginalized women under patriarchy, but they also pushed their white allies to acknowledge that white, propertied women often built their own security by exploiting women without property, especially women of color. Other black women, most notably Harriet Jacobs and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, also entered into debates over the functions of age as a vector of power, articulating how enslaved and free black women experienced distinct forms of sexualization in youth and precarity in old age.40

On her lecture tours, Truth met many of the white women who promoted new attitudes toward older women, including suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Susan B. Anthony, as well as the abolitionist Lydia Maria Child, whose Looking toward Sunset (1864) was a best-selling compendium of advice for the aged.41 Truth took inspiration from these white women who also aged in public, though many trafficked in racist stereotypes, and even the most radical among them never fully acknowledged how much they depended on the labor of domestic workers to sustain their own careers.42 Truth formed a particularly strong collaboration with Lucretia Mott, a Quaker preacher and abolitionist born in 1793, who drew attention to the prejudice against older white women in public life.43 Mott, more than most white women, shared Truth’s commitment to a broad-based program for old-age justice, arguing not only for the rights of propertied wives to control and inherit wealth but also for better-paid work for working-class women, both black and white, in the hopes that they would face a less precarious old age.44 After the Civil War, Mott joined an interracial effort to establish Philadelphia’s Home for Aged and Infirm Colored Persons, arguing that voluntary “efforts such as this are but a small return for the wrongs done the colored people.”45 As Mott entered her seventies, she came to symbolize the longevity of women’s political leadership for white women much as Truth did for black women; the two continued to meet, even comparing their physical signs of old age.46

Tubman also seized opportunities to form strategic alliances with white women. Mott’s sister Martha Coffin Wright, who lived near Tubman in Auburn, New York, helped raise funds for her community care networks and connected her to other white suffragists. Yet Wright also complained throughout her life about the unreliability of the women she hired as domestic servants, on one occasion in the 1840s comparing a black woman to an “ape” and a “baboon.” This tension between Wright’s ability to dehumanize white and black servants in her household while also promoting interracial movements for social justice provides some indication of the tense crosscurrents Tubman had to navigate in her alliances with white women.47 In her sixties and seventies, Tubman found white women eager to celebrate her antislavery past, as when Ednah Dow Cheney organized a Boston reception for Tubman through the Massachusetts Women’s Suffrage Association.48 At the same time, white suffragists, even those who praised Tubman, increasingly promoted white supremacy as a tool for progressive reform, while those concerned with social welfare built racial segregation into programs for old-age support.49

Organized black women stepped in to support old black people in their communities, many founding and managing homes for African American elders.50 Most significantly, at the turn of the twentieth century, another ex-slave woman, Callie House, a Nashville washerwoman, led a mass movement for “ex-slave” pensions that the federal government ruthlessly suppressed.51 Black club women, meanwhile, began to emphasize the achievements of young women, especially those able to pursue educational opportunities and, despite the continuing force of discrimination and violence, seek opportunities outside domestic work. This culminated in the celebration of New Negro womanhood in the 1910s and 1920s. Black girlhood, always an object of concern, became even more central to black feminist organizing, and the justice claims of old black women receded to the background, thus shaping how later generations understand the legacy of nineteenth-century black feminism.52

Black feminist scholars seeking to recover the long history of intersectionality often cite Truth and Tubman as foundational thinkers but have yet to fully draw out the implications of their focus on old-age justice. Truth and Tubman posed searching questions about who cares for whom and how this impacts survival in later life. By theorizing later life as a process through which disparities based on sexism, racism, and economic inequality accumulate over time, Truth and Tubman made visible how the comfortable old age of some, including white women’s rights activists, relied on the undercompensated labor of others. At the same time, they forged tenuous alliances with white feminists eager to reconfigure old age for their own purposes, and created small spaces of common ground where alternative ways of growing old through mutual support might be imagined, even as this potential remained unrealized.

I write this brief overview of Truth’s and Tubman’s legacies in 2020 as the spread of the COVID-19 virus intensifies existing health disparities in the United States at the intersection of old age, racial inequality, and the organization of service work. Older people have been more vulnerable than youth to severe illness, but with marked racial disparities in who lives and who dies. Ruth Gilmore’s understanding of racism as the differential vulnerability to premature death takes on a new urgency in this pandemic and helps explain the “preexisting” conditions that render African Americans more likely to die from this novel virus. But the organization of care work and service work matters as well. As the historian Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor explains, fewer than 20 percent of African Americans have jobs that allow them to work at home, with most concentrated in service jobs, mass transit, retail, and health care. Classified as “essential” but underpaid, these workers continue to care for others while exposing themselves to risk of disease.53 Though they lived under very different conditions, Truth and Tubman helped articulate a far-reaching program for old-age justice built around the principle that those who provide care also deserve care as a social and political priority, enabling us to envision how we might begin to theorize the importance of later life to visions of a more equitable future.

This research was made possible by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, and a Drawn to Art Fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society.

Notes

1. Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing,” 166.

2. Nash, Black Feminism, 2; Collins and Bilge, Intersectionality.

3. Crenshaw, Ocen, and Nanda, Black Girls Matter.

4. For recent overviews of black girl studies, see Webster, “History of Black Girls”; Jordan-Zachery and Harris, Black Girl Magic; and Owens et al., “Towards an Interdisciplinary Field.” 

5. Evans, “Historical Wellness.” 

6. Shaw, “Grandmothers”; see also Close, Elderly Slaves.

7. Berry, Price.

8. Pollard, Complaint to the Lord; Knight, “Black Women.” 

9. Cole, Journey of Life; Premo, Winter Friends; Heath, Aging by the Book.

10. Hartog, Some Day All This Will Be Yours.

11. Jones-Rogers, They Were Her Property, xvii.

12. Thane, “Old Age”; Berry, Price, chap. 5.

13. Jacobs, Incidents; Wright, Black Girlhood.

14. Painter, Sojourner Truth; Washington, Sojourner Truth’s America; Humez, Harriet Tubman; Larson, Bound; Clinton, Harriet Tubman; Hobson, “Harriet Tubman”; May, “Under-Theorized.” 

15. On embodied discourse, see Cooper, Beyond Respectability, 3; on controlling images, see Collins, Black Feminist Thought, chap. 4.

16. Morgan, Laboring Women; Ladner, Tomorrow’s Tomorrow.

17. Mbembe, “Necropolitics,” 186. Foucault developed the related concept of biopolitics in History of Sexuality and hr8822590C28“Society Must Be Defended.” See also Glenn, Forced to Care; and Lerner, “Aging in Bondage.” 

18. This essay builds on a special issue of American Quarterly, offering one answer to the editors Greta LaFleur and Kyla Schuller’s call for more attention to the “role of the household in the history of both labor exploitation and antiblack thought” (“Introduction,” 618). See esp. Windon, “Superannuated,” 767–87.

19. Gilmore, Golden Gulag, 29.

20. Winant, “Place to Die.” 

21. Jones-Rogers, They Were Her Property. See also Sarah Haley’s argument that paroling black women convicts into domestic service turned white women into agents of the carceral state (No Mercy Here).

22. Field and Syrett, “AHR Roundtable”; Field and Syrett, Age in America; Treas, “Age in Standards.” 

23. Field, “What Do We Talk About?”; Pearson, “‘Age Ought to Be a Fact’”; Landrum, “Family Bibles”; Chudacoff, How Old Are You? 

24. “An Act for the Gradual Abolition”; Sundue, “Beyond the Time”; Gronningsater, “Born Free.” 

25. Truth, Narrative of Sojourner Truth (1850), 13, 26–41; Chicago Tribune, “Sojourner Truth.” 

26. Ibrahim, “Any Other Age”; Edelstein, Adulthood, chap. 2.

27. Berry, Price.

28. Bradford, Scenes, 108; Humez, Harriet Tubman, 13; Conrad, Harriet Tubman, 33.

29. Douglass, Narrative, 13; Wells Brown, Narrative, 39–43; Jacobs, Incidents, 27; Windon, “Superannuated.” 

30. Truth, Narrative of Sojourner Truth (1850), 19.

31. Vale, Fanaticism, 74–79.

32. Yerrington, “The Fourth.” 

33. Windon, “Superannuated”; Livesay, “Practical Paternalism”; Lerner, “Aging in Bondage.” 

34. Robinson, Pictures, 322–25; Conrad, Harriet Tubman, 99–100.

35. Sanborn, “Harriet Tubman.” 

36. Clinton, Harriet Tubman, 192–96; Larson, Bound, 249–50; Humez, Harriet Tubman, 78–85.

37. Truth, Narrative of Sojourner Truth (1875), 198, 226.

38. Humez, Harriet Tubman, 92–107; Larson, Bound, 271–76; National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, History of the Club Movement, 55, 58; Taylor, “Appeal”; Woman’s Journal, “To Save Harriet Tubman’s Home”; Talbert, “New York,” 5.

39. Humez, Harriet Tubman, 99–100, 112; Woman’s Era, “Harriet Tubman”; Hopkins, “Famous Women of the Negro Race, II”; Hopkins, “Famous Women of the Negro Race, III.” 

40. Field, Struggle; Field, “Frances E. W. Harper”; Terborg-Penn, African American Women, 32, 40; Jones, All Bound Up Together, 107–8.

41. Truth, Narrative of Sojourner Truth (1875); Child, Looking.

42. Newman, White Women’s Rights.

43. Faulkner, Mott’s Heresy.

44. Faulkner, Mott’s Heresy, 118–19.

45. Pollard, Complaint to the Lord, 73–74.

46. Truth, Narrative of Sojourner Truth (1884), 29; Stanton and Blatch, Letters, 19–20.

47. Penney and Livingston, Dangerous Woman, 132, 175–76.

48. Humez, Harriet Tubman, 101.

49. Newman, White Women’s Rights; Haber and Gratton, Old Age; Pollard, Complaint to the Lord.

50. Pollard, Complaint to the Lord.

51. Berry, My Face Is Black Is True.

52. Lindsey, Colored No More; Wright, Black Girlhood.

53. Gilmore, Golden Gulag, 28; Taylor, “Black Plague”; Boris and Klein, Caring for America.

References

An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery, 1799.” New York State Archives. www.archives.nysed.gov/education/act-gradual-abolition-slavery-1799 (accessed February 22, 2020).Berry, Daina Ramey. 

The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation Boston Beacon, 2017

Google Scholar

 Berry, Mary Frances. 

My Face Is Black Is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations

New York

Vintage

2005

.

Google Scholar

 Boris, Eileen, and Klein, Jennifer. 

Caring for America: Home Health Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State

New York

Oxford University Press

2012

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Bradford, Sarah H. 

Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman

Auburn, NY

1869

.

Google Scholar

 

Chicago Tribune

. “

Sojourner Truth

.” 

September

 

23

1876

.Child, Lydia Maria. 

Looking toward Sunset

Boston

1864

.

Google Scholar

 Chudacoff, Howard P. 

How Old Are You? Age Consciousness in American Culture

Princeton, NJ

Princeton University Press

1989

.

Google Scholar

 Clinton, Catherine. 

Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom

Boston

Back Bay

2004

.

Google Scholar

 Close, Stacey K. 

Elderly Slaves of the Plantation South

New York

Garland

1997

.

Google Scholar

 Cole, Thomas. 

The Journey of Life: A Cultural History of Aging in America

New York

Cambridge University Press

1992

.

Google Scholar

 Collins, Patricia Hill. 

Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment

. 2nd ed. 

New York

Routledge

2000

.

Google Scholar

 Collins, Patricia Hill, and Bilge, Sirma. 

Intersectionality

Malden, MA

Polity

2016

.

Google Scholar

 Conrad, Earl. 

Harriet Tubman

Washington, DC

Associated Publishers

1943

.

Google Scholar

 Cooper, Brittney C. 

Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Black Women

Champaign

University of Illinois Press

2017

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Crenshaw, Kimberlé. “

Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory, and Antiracist Politics

.” 

University of Chicago Legal Forum

 

1989

, no. 

1

 (

1989

): 

139

68

.

Google Scholar

 Crenshaw, Kimberlé, Ocen, Priscilla, and Nanda, Jyoti. 

Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced, and Underprotected

New York

African American Policy Forum

2015

.

Google Scholar

 Douglass, Frederick. 

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

. In Frederick Douglass Papers, Series Two: Autobiographical Writings; Volume 1, Narrative, edited by Blassingame, John, McKivigan, John, and Hinks, Peter. 

New Haven, CT

Yale University Press

1999

.

Google Scholar

 Edelstein, Sari. 

Adulthood and Other Fictions: American Literature and the Unmaking of Age

New York

Oxford University Press

2019

.

Google Scholar

 Evans, Stephanie. “

Historical Wellness: Black Women’s Self-Care and Five Healing Traditions in Centenarian Memoirs

.” Keynote lecture, Association of Black Women Historians, Fortieth Anniversary Symposium, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, 

December

 

8

2018

.

Google Scholar

 Faulkner, Carol. 

Lucretia Mott’s Heresy: Abolition and Women’s Rights in Nineteenth-Century America

Philadelphia

University of Pennsylvania Press

2011

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Field, Corinne T. “

Frances E. W. Harper and the Politics of Intellectual Maturity

.” In 

Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women

, edited by Bay, Mia, Griffin, Farah J., Jones, Martha S., and Savage, Barbara D., 

110

26

Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina Press

2015

.

Google Scholar

 Field, Corinne T. 

The Struggle for Equal Adulthood: Gender, Race, Age, and the Fight for Citizenship in Antebellum America

Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina Press

2014

.

Google Scholar

 Field, Corinne T. “

What Do We Talk about When We Talk about Age in Early America?

” 

Common-place

 

17

, no. 

2

 (

2017

). commonplace.online/article/talk-about-age.

Google Scholar

 Field, Corinne T., and Syrett, Nicholas L., eds. 

Age in America: The Colonial Era to the Present

New York

New York University Press

2015

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Field, Corinne T., and Syrett, Nicholas L., eds. “

AHR Roundtable: Chronological Age: A Useful Category of Analysis

.” 

American Historical Review

 

125

, no. 

2

 (

2020

): 

371

459

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Foucault, Michel. 

The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction

, translated by Hurley, Robert. 

New York

Vintage

1990

.

Google Scholar

 Foucault, Michel. 

“Society Must Be Defended”: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975–1976

, edited by Bertani, Mauro and Fontana, Alessandro, translated by Macey, David. Vol. 

5

New York

Macmillan

2003

.

Google Scholar

 Gilmore, Ruth Wilson. 

Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California

Berkeley

University of California Press

2007

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Glenn, Evelyn Nakano. 

Forced to Care: Coercion and Caregiving in America

Cambridge, MA

Harvard University Press

2010

.

Google Scholar

 Gronningsater, Sarah L. H. “

Born Free in the Master’s House: Children and Gradual Emancipation in the Early American North

.” In 

Child Slavery before and after Emancipation: An Argument for Child-Centered Slavery Studies

, edited by Duane, Anna Mae, 

123

49

New York

Cambridge University Press

2017

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Haber, Carole, and Gratton, Brian. 

Old Age and the Search for Security: An American Social History

Bloomington

Indiana University Press

1994

.

Google Scholar

 Haley, Sarah. 

No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity

Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina Press

2016

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Hartog, Hendrik. 

Someday All This Will Be Yours: A History of Inheritance and Old Age

Cambridge, MA

Harvard University Press

2012

.

Google Scholar

 Heath, Kay. 

Aging by the Book: The Emergence of Midlife in Victorian Britain

Albany

State University of New York Press

2009

.

Google Scholar

 Hobson, Janell, ed. “

Harriet Tubman: A Legacy of Resistance

.” Special issue, 

Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism

 

12

, no. 

2

 (

2014

).

Google Scholar

 Hopkins, Pauline E. “

Famous Women of the Negro Race, II: Sojourner Truth

.” 

Colored American

December

 

1901

124

32

.

Google Scholar

 Hopkins, Pauline E. “

Famous Women of the Negro Race, III: Harriet Tubman (Moses)

.” 

Colored American

January–February

 

1902

210

23

.

Google Scholar

 Humez, Jean M. 

Harriet Tubman: The Life and the Life Stories

Madison

University of Wisconsin Press

2003

.

Google Scholar

 Ibrahim, Habiba. “

Any Other Age: Vampires and Oceanic Lifespans

.” 

African American Review

 

49

, no. 

4

 (

2016

): 

313

24

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Jacobs, Harriet. 

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself

, edited by Yellin, Jean Fagan. 

Cambridge, MA

Harvard University Press

1987

.

Google Scholar

 Jones, Martha S. 

All Bound Up Together: The Woman Question in African American Public Culture, 1830–1900

Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina Press

2007

.

Google Scholar

 Jones-Rogers, Stephanie. 

They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South

New Haven, CT

Yale University Press

2019

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Jordan-Zachery, Julia S., and Harris, Duchess, eds. 

Black Girl Magic beyond the Hashtag: Twenty-First-Century Acts of Self-Definition

Tucson

University of Arizona Press

2019

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Knight, Frederick. “

Black Women, Eldership, and Communities of Care in the Nineteenth-Century North

.” 

Early American Studies

 

17

, no. 

4

 (

2019

): 

545

61

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Ladner, Joyce. 

Tomorrow’s Tomorrow: The Black Woman

Lincoln

University of Nebraska Press

1995

.

Google Scholar

 LaFleur, Greta, and Schuller, Kyla. “

Introduction: Technologies of Life and Architectures of Death in Early America

.” 

American Quarterly

 

72

, no. 

3

 (

2019

): 

603

24

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Landrum, Shane. “

From Family Bibles to Birth Certificates: Young People, Proof of Age, and American Political Cultures

.” In Field and Syrett, 

Age in America

124

47

.Larson, Kate Clifford. 

Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero

New York

One World

2004

.

Google Scholar

 Lerner, Alix. “

Aging in Bondage: Slavery, Debility, and the Problem of Dependency in the Old South

.” PhD diss., 

Princeton University

2018

.

Google Scholar

 Lindsey, Treva B. 

Colored No More: Reinventing Black Womanhood in Washington, D.C.

 

Champaign

University of Illinois Press

2017

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Livesay, Daniel. “

Practical Paternalism: The Role of Elderly Slaves in the New Republic

.” 

Paper presented at the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Annual Meeting

Cleveland, Ohio

July

 

22

2018

.

Google Scholar

 May, Vivian. “

Under-theorized and Under-taught: Re-examining Harriet Tubman’s Place in Women’s Studies

.” In Hobson, “Harriet Tubman,” 

28

49

.Mbembe, Achille. “

Necropolitics

.” In 

Biopolitics: A Reader

, edited by Campbell, Timothy and Sitze, Adam, 

161

92

Durham, NC

Duke University Press

2013

.

Google Scholar

 Morgan, Jennifer. 

Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery

Philadelphia

University of Pennsylvania Press

2004

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Nash, Jennifer C. 

Black Feminism Reimagined after Intersectionality

Durham, NC

Duke University Press

2019

.

Google Scholar

 

National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs

A History of the Club Movement among the Colored Women of the United States of America

Washington, DC

National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs

1978

.Newman, Louise Michele. 

White Women’s Rights: The Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States

New York

Oxford University Press

1999

.

Google Scholar

 Owens, Tammy C., Callier, Durell M., Robinson, Jessica L., and Garner, Porshé R.. “

Towards an Interdisciplinary Field of Black Girlhood Studies

.” 

Departures in Critical Qualitative Research

 

6

, no. 

3

 (

2017

): 

116

32

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Painter, Nell Irvin. 

Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol

New York

Norton

1996

.

Google Scholar

 Pearson, Susan J. “

‘Age Ought to Be a Fact’: The Campaign against Child Labor and the Rise of the Birth Certificate

.” 

Journal of American History

 

101

, no. 

4

 (

2015

): 

1144

65

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Penney, Sherry H., and Livingston, James. 

A Very Dangerous Woman: Martha Coffin Wright and Women’s Rights

Amherst

University of Massachusetts Press

2004

.

Google Scholar

 Pollard, Leslie J. 

Complaint to the Lord: Historical Perspectives on the African American Elderly

Selinsgrove, PA

Susquehanna University Press

1996

.

Google Scholar

 Premo, Terri L. 

Winter Friends: Women Growing Old in the New Republic, 1785–1835

Champaign

University of Illinois Press

1990

.

Google Scholar

 Robinson, John Bell. 

Pictures of Slavery and Anti-slavery, Advantages of Negro Slavery and the Benefits of Negro Freedom, Morally, Socially, and Politically Considered

Philadelphia

1863

.

Google Scholar

 Sanborn, Franklin. “

Harriet Tubman

.” 

Commonwealth

July

 

17

1863

1

.

Google Scholar

 Shaw, Stephanie. “

Grandmothers in Antebellum Slave Communities

.” 

Paper presented at the National Woman Studies Association Annual Meeting

Montreal

November

 

12

2016

.

Google Scholar

 Stanton, Theodore, and Blatch, Harriot Stanton, eds. 

Letters

. Vol. 

2

 of Elizabeth Cady Stanton as Revealed in Her Letters, Diary, and Reminiscences

New York

Harper and Brothers

1922

.

Google Scholar

 Sundue, Sharon. “

‘Beyond the Time of White Children’: African American Emancipation, Age, and Ascribed Neoteny in Early National Pennsylvania

.” In Field and Syrett, 

Age in America

47

65

.Talbert, Mary B. “

New York

.” 

National Association Notes

December

 

1911

5

.

Google Scholar

 Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. “

The Black Plague

.” 

New Yorker

April

 

16

2020

www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-black-plague.

Google Scholar

 Taylor, Robert W. “

An Appeal for Harriet Tubman Old Folks’ Home

.” 

Colored American Magazine

July

 

1901

237

38

.

Google Scholar

 Terborg-Penn, Rosalyn. 

African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850–1920

Bloomington

Indiana University Press

1998

.

Google Scholar

 Thane, Pat. “

Old Age in European Cultures: A Significant Presence from Antiquity to the Present

.” In Field, and Syrett, , “AHR Roundtable,” 

385

95

.Treas, Judith. “

Age in Standards and Standards for Age: Institutionalizing Chronological Age as Biographical Necessity

.” In 

Standards and Their Stories: How Quantifying, Classifying, and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life

, edited by Lampland, Martha and Sar, Susan Leigh, 

65

87

Ithaca, NY

Cornell University Press

2009

.

Google Scholar

 Truth, Sojourner. 

Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Bondswoman of Olden Time

. Boston, 

1875

.Truth, Sojourner. 

Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Bondswoman of Olden Time . . . Also a Memorial Chapter

Battle Creek, MI

1884

.

Google Scholar

 Truth, Sojourner. 

Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave

Boston

1850

.

Google Scholar

 Vale, Gilbert. 

Fanaticism: Its Source and Influence, Illustrated by the Simple Narrative of Isabella [Part II]

New York

1835

.

Google Scholar

 Washington, Margaret. 

Sojourner Truth’s America

Champaign

University of Illinois Press

2009

.

Google Scholar

 Webster, Crystal Lynn. “

The History of Black Girls and the Field of Black Girl Studies: At the Forefront of Academic Scholarship

.” 

American Historian

March

 

2020

www.oah.org/tah/issues/2020/the-history-of-girlhood/the-history-of-black-girls-and-the-field-of-black-girlhood-studies-at-the-forefront-of-academic.

Google Scholar

 Wells Brown, William. 

Narrative of William W. Brown

Boston

1847

.

Google Scholar

 Winant, Gabriel. “

A Place to Die: Nursing Home Abuse and the Political Economy of the 1970s

.” 

Journal of American History

 

123

, no. 

3

 (

2018

): 

96

210

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Windon, Nathaniel. “

Superannuated: Old Age on the Antebellum Plantation

.” 

American Quarterly

 

72

, no. 

3

 (

2019

): 

767

87

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 

Woman’s Era

. “

Harriet Tubman

.” 

June

 

1896

8

.

Woman’s Journal

. “

To Save Harriet Tubman’s Home

.” 

April

 

12

1902

118

.Wright, Nazera. 

Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century

Champaign

University of Illinois Press

2016

.

Google Scholar

Crossref

 

 Yerrington, James M. W. “

The Fourth at Framingham

.” 

Liberator

July

 

8

1859

106

7

.

Google Scholar

 

Copyright © 2021 by MARHO: The Radical Historians’ Organization, Inc.

News Type: