Karen Cook-Bell in conversation with Nikki M. Taylor
City Lights and Cambridge University Press celebrate the publication of two new books
Running from Bondage: Enslaved Women and Their Remarkable Fight for Freedom in Revolutionary America
by Karen Cook-Bell
Brooding over Bloody Revenge: Enslaved Women’s Lethal Resistance
by Nikki M. Taylor
(both books published by Cambridge University Press)
About Running from Bondage:
Running from Bondage tells the compelling stories of enslaved women, who comprised one-third of all runaways, and the ways in which they fled or attempted to flee bondage during and after the Revolutionary War. Karen Cook Bell’s enlightening and original contribution to the study of slave resistance in eighteenth-century America explores the individual and collective lives of these women and girls of diverse circumstances, while also providing details about what led them to escape. She demonstrates that there were in fact two wars being waged during the Revolutionary Era: a political revolution for independence from Great Britain and a social revolution for emancipation and equality in which Black women played an active role. Running from Bondage broadens and complicates how we study and teach this momentous event, one that emphasizes the chances taken by these ‘Black founding mothers’ and the important contributions they made to the cause of liberty.
Karen Cook-Bell is Professor of History and the Wilson H. Elkins Endowed Professor at Bowie State University. Her areas of specialization include slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and women’s history. Her scholarship has appeared in the Journal of African American History; Georgia Historical Quarterly; Passport; U.S. West-Africa: Interaction and Relations (2008); Before Obama: A Reappraisal of Black Reconstruction Era Politicians (2012); Converging Identities: Blackness in the Contemporary Diaspora (2013); and Slavery and Freedom in Savannah (2014). She has published Claiming Freedom: Race, Kinship, and Land in Nineteenth Century Georgia (University of South Carolina Press, 2018), which won the Georgia Board of Regents Excellence in Research Award. Her current book, Running from Bondage: Enslaved Women and Their Remarkable Fight for Freedom in Revolutionary America was a finalist for the Pauli Murray Book Prize for Best Book in African American Intellectual History. She is editor of Southern Black Women’s Struggle for Freedom during the Civil War and Reconstruction which is under contract with Cambridge University Press. Her writings have also appeared in the Washington Post and Ms. Magazine. She is a contributor for Black Perspectives, the blog of the African American Intellectual History Society. She is a former AAUW Dissertation Fellow.
About Brooding over Bloody Revenge:
From the colonial through the antebellum era, enslaved women in the US used lethal force as the ultimate form of resistance. By amplifying their voices and experiences, Brooding over Bloody Revenge strongly challenges assumptions that enslaved women only participated in covert, non-violent forms of resistance, when in fact they consistently seized justice for themselves and organized toward revolt. Nikki M. Taylor expertly reveals how women killed for deeply personal instances of injustice committed by their owners. The stories presented, which span centuries and legal contexts, demonstrate that these acts of lethal force were carefully premeditated. Enslaved women planned how and when their enslavers would die, what weapons and accomplices were necessary, and how to evade capture in the aftermath. Original and compelling, Brooding Over Bloody Revenge presents a window into the lives and philosophies of enslaved women who had their own ideas about justice and how to achieve it.
Dr. Nikki M. Taylor is Professor of History at Howard University specializing in 19th-century African American History. Her sub-specialties are in Urban, African American Women, and Intellectual History. She is the author of the books Frontiers of Freedom: Cincinnati’s Black Community 1802-68, America’s First Black Socialist: The Radical Life of Peter H. Clark, and Driven Toward Madness: The Fugitive Slave Margaret Garner and Tragedy on the Ohio.
This event is made possible by support from the City Lights Foundation. To learn more visit: https://citylights.com/foundation/