Please note: In order to keep Hive up to date and provide users with the best features, we are no longer able to fully support Internet Explorer. The site is still available to you, however some sections of the site may appear broken. We would encourage you to move to a more modern browser like Firefox, Edge or Chrome in order to experience the site fully.

Black Elders : The Meaning of Age in American Slavery and Freedom, Hardback Book

Black Elders : The Meaning of Age in American Slavery and Freedom Hardback

Part of the Early American Studies series



Would there have been a Frederick Douglass if it were not for Betsy Bailey, the grandmother who raised him?

Would Harriet Jacobs have written her renowned autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, if her grandmother, a free black woman named Molly Horniblow, had not enabled Jacobs’ escape from slavery?In Black Elders, Frederick C.

Knight explores the experiences of African Americans with aging and in old age during the eras of slavery and emancipation.

Though slavery put a premium on young labor, elders worked as caregivers, domestics, cooks, or midwives and performed other tasks in the margins of Southern and Northern economies.

Looking at black families, churches, mutual aid societies, and homes for the aged, Knight demonstrates the pivotal role of elders in the history of African American community formation through Reconstruction. Drawing on a wide array of printed and archival sources, including slave narratives, plantation records, letters, diaries, meeting minutes, and state and federal archives, Knight also examines how blacks and whites, men and women, the young and the old developed competing ideas about age and aging, differences that shaped social relations in coastal West and West Central Africa, the Atlantic and domestic slave trades, colonial and antebellum Southern slave societies, and emancipation in the North and South. Black Elders offers a unique window into the individual and collective lives of African Americans, the day-to-day struggles they waged around their experiences of aging, and how they drew upon these resources to define the meaning of family, community, and freedom.


Save 3%



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Also in the Early American Studies series  |  View all