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Voices of the EnslavedLove, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana$
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Sophie White

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469654041

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469654041.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022

“Not So Denatured as to Kill Her Child”

“Not So Denatured as to Kill Her Child”

Marie-Jeanne and Lisette

(p.96) Chapter 3 “Not So Denatured as to Kill Her Child”
Voices of the Enslaved

Sophie White

University of North Carolina Press

Chapter Three moves to the Illinois Country (Upper Louisiana) in 1748 and explores the contentious relationship between two enslaved women: Marie-Jeanne, a pregnant woman of African descent accused of infanticide after going into labor, and Lisette, a young Indian girl. The chapter explores French views of motherhood, and of enslaved Africans as parents, but also enslaved women’s particular vulnerability to sexual abuse from French men both in the French Atlantic and Indian Oceans (especially Mauritius). Marie-Jeanne and Lisette’s court appearance, in Kaskaskia and then in New Orleans where Marie-Jeanne was sent to be tried, afforded them the possibility of narrating their own stories of loss, and, in the fissures between the lines of questioning and their answers, the childless woman and the motherless child interspersed references to work roles, conflicts over authority, and their conceptions of motherhood.

Keywords:   Illinois Country, New Orleans, Indian slavery, African-Americans, Slave narratives, Infanticide, Sexual abuse, Motherhood, Colonial America, Mauritius

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