Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Power to DieSlavery and Suicide in British North America$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Terri L. Snyder

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226280561

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226280738.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

The Meaning of Suicide in Antislavery Politics

The Meaning of Suicide in Antislavery Politics

(p.121) Chapter Six The Meaning of Suicide in Antislavery Politics
The Power to Die

Terri L. Snyder

University of Chicago Press

This chapter analyzes the motif of slave suicide in Anglo-America anti-slavery print, beginning with the The Dying Negro (1773) and through slave narratives of the antebellum period. Earliest abolitionists used suicide to attack very specific aspects of slavery: the legal ambiguities slave status in England, the ways in which slave owners existed above the law, or the brutality of the international slave trade. These materials also asserted that slave suicide was a response to specific harms: imminent transport, the Middle Passage, and familial separation led enslaved men and women's to commit despairing acts of self-destruction. In contrast to the earliest anti-slavery activism, later, antebellum abolitionism staked its claim on more radically expansive visions of racial equality as well as demands for slavery's ends, invoking ideas of natural rights although maintaining the earlier emphasis on patriarchal privilege. Suicide, then, came to represent a host of specific injuries caused by slavery.

Keywords:   slave narratives, The Dying Negro, anti-slavery activism, gender

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.