Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Robert Sawrey

Second Advisor

Daniel Holbrook

Third Advisor

Jerome Handler


This thesis compares slave narratives written by Mattie J. Jackson and Kate Drumgoold. Both narrators recalled incidents that showed how slavery and the environment during the Reconstruction period created physical and psychological obstacles for women. Each narrator challenged the Cult of True Womanhood by showing that despite the stereotypes created to keep them subordinate there were African American women who successfully used their knowledge of white society to circumvent a system that tried to keep their race enslaved. Despite the 30 years that separate the publication of these two narratives, the legacy of education attainment emerges as a key part of survival and binds the narrators together under a common goal. Pursuing a formal education and becoming a part of academia emerges as the method that Jackson and Drumgoold use to improve their status and support others in the racial uplift movement. Finally this thesis suggests that the efforts of ex-slave women translated into an important contribution to our understanding of plantation life and the methods of resistance to slavery. The female slave narrative brings historians closer to recognizing the unique and often underestimated resilience of the African American community.


Slave narratives.

Women slaves - Narratives.