Housekeepers, Merchants, Rentières: Free Women of Color in the Port Cities of Colonial Saint-Domingue, 1750–1790

TitleHousekeepers, Merchants, Rentières: Free Women of Color in the Port Cities of Colonial Saint-Domingue, 1750–1790
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsRogers, Dominique, and Stewart King
EditorCatterall, Douglas, and Jodi Campbell
Book TitleWomen in Port: Gendering Communities, Economies, and Social Networks in Atlantic Port Cities, 1500-1800
Pagination357-397
PublisherBrill
CityLeiden
Abstract

This book chapter explores the economic roles of women of color in the port cities, discussing in particular the unusual set of opportunities and challenges the ports of Saint-Domingue created for the free women of color who resided in them. In addition, they will evaluate the social repercussions of the dynamic role played by free colored women, with particular attention to the examples provided by two wealthy widows, Anne Rossignol and Marie Scipion, who both traced their path to Saint-Domingue from Africa, one by way of voluntary migration from Gorée and the other by way of forced migration via the transatlantic slave trade. While the conclusions should only be seen as provisional, the case of Saint-Domingue suggests that whether they were comfortable, rich, or more modest in means, Dominguan women of color appear to have been eminently dynamic actors in the economic life and social structure of the colony’s port cities. Moreover, in a time when tradition would have preferred women to have been confined to a more modest position, Dominguan urban society appears to have accepted their dynamic role in practice despite the scandal it represented for many commentators of the day.

URLhttps://brill.com/view/book/edcoll/9789004233195/B9789004233195_016.xml
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794307148

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