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All Bound Up TogetherThe Woman Question in African American Public Culture, 1830-1900$
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Martha S. Jones

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831526

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807888902_jones

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Right Is of No Sex

Right Is of No Sex

Reframing the Debate through the Rights of Women

(p.59) 2 Right Is of No Sex
All Bound Up Together

Martha S. Jones

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the September 1848 National Convention of Colored Freedmen, which called for women's “equal” participation in the proceedings. It lifts the debate over women at the Cleveland convention out of the realm of the novel and resituates it as a reflection of the many streams of influence that were shaping African American public culture during the 1840s. Female influence was giving way to women's rights in black activist circles, a shift that opened a door to a rethinking of the gendered character of fraternal orders, churches, and political organizations. Key in this moment was a new understanding about the underpinnings of inequality. Prejudice grounded in sex was no less arbitrary than that grounded in color, activists argued, with both African Americans and women subject to “despotic acts of legislation and false judicature,” as Martin Delany put it.

Keywords:   female influence, Colored Freedmen, Cleveland convention, African American, public culture, women's rights, black activist circles, Martin Delany

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