They Were Her Property
Stephanie E Jones-Rogers
After that one person was elected president in 2016, I remember the pink pussy hats were out and many women across the nation took to the streets to protest his inauguration. Soon after it was revealed that almost half of all white women voted for that man. There was something not right here…
THEY WERE HER PROPERTY by Stephanie E Jones-Rogers will make your blood boil. History books and the media often try to let white women “off the hook” so to speak, think Scarlett O’Hara or the damsel in distress. They couldn’t REALLY know about the horror of slavery, right? That had nothing to do with them, it was all the men, right? In Jones-Rogers’ thoroughly researched book she just about slams the door on that harmful narrative. Written with incredible detail, she goes through wills, estate sales, birth and death records, newspaper archives, diaries, letters, congressional testimony and so much more to prove that white women who enslaved Black men, women and children were more than just complicit, but actively participated in and even found legal loopholes to gain financial independence and security. It was challenging to get through on many levels, I mean obviously its a book about slavery, so reading about the details of it would make anyone want to throw up, but it was also just relentlessly detailed. And I get why Jones-Rogers made that choice. It is really hard to argue against the facts here (although clearly many are trying). In giving us a fuller picture of how white women stood much to gain (and eventually lose because of its abolition) from slavery, its easy to connect the dots to our present moment in history and the dissection of white feminism. The final chapter lays down the hammer and brings this point home way better than I ever could here in a measly instagram post, but intersectional feminism is the only way forward. Thanks @histroywithher for hosting the buddy read. This is a book I will never forget.