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Conceiving FreedomWomen of Color, Gender, and the Abolition of Slavery in Havana and Rio de Janeiro$
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Camillia Cowling

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781469610870

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9781469610894_Cowling

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Wish to Be in This City

Wish to Be in This City

Mapping Women's Quest for Urban Freedom

(p.123) Chapter Five Wish to Be in This City
Conceiving Freedom

Camillia Cowling

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter maps the close connections between urban living and the quest for freedom. Ramona's complaint about the difficulty of gaining a fair hearing in her small town would have been familiar to her contemporaries, in Brazil as well as in Cuba, as the case of Mathilde and other fazenda slaves in Guaratiba near Rio de Janeiro reveals. As the case unfolded, the lawyer for the owner's heirs made a common argument. The group, he said, had not made the claim themselves, but had been “incited by the philanthropy of someone who wished to exploit their services.” The fact that the claimants had had outside help was legitimate because it was common knowledge that their isolation would otherwise prevent them from accessing the “august temple of Justice.”

Keywords:   urban living, freedom, fair hearing, fazenda slaves, philanthropy, isolation

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