Children, race, and memory in the antebellum south

Update item information
Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Humanities
Department History
Author Fellows, Michelle
Title Children, race, and memory in the antebellum south
Date 2010-03-08
Description In the antebellum South, race defined work, family, recreation, and interaction with others. Rules and expectations structuring racial identity were not innate; children were socialized to them. Early on black and white children were indoctrinated to understand race in certain ways; in school, church, and their homes, children learned to classify themselves and others in the antebellum social structure. This thesis focuses on transmission of racial identity. How race was taught and learned; how peers, parents, teachers, and others instilled racial identity; how children were introduced to their racial identity in relation to the "other"; and how, when, and where children learned to perform their own racial identities are discussed. I explore how children of both races became aware of racial patterns and implemented racial behavior in their lives. I examine how interracial relationships shaped childrens' attitudes about slavery. Recollections by former slaves and free whites form the foundation of my research. Several of these sources were written long after childhood, but they are no less valuable. Memory is crucial in understanding race relations. How planters and slaves interpreted childhood encounters with racial difference, how individuals coped with and justified master/slave relationships, and how adults romanticized childhood memories of slavery to validate a society structured on race are all examined in this work. Scholars examining children in slavery often stress hardship and vulnerability; but none focus specifically on how young slaves understood race and slavery, or how childhood memories instilled racial identity later in life. Nor do these works address attitudes of white children toward black peers or the slave system. Most historians do not incorporate experiences of black and white children into a single interpretive frame. However, it is crucial to study children of both races relationally. Other historians have used similar source material, but none focus on perceptions and memories of children toward doctrines of race. My work conceptualizes memories of children and roots their identities in experience. Children who witnessed slavery often followed examples taught and instructions instilled in them. I explore how children learned authority and subordination, superiority and inferiority, and white versus black.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Race relations; Southern states; Plantation life
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name MA
Language eng
Relation is Version of Digital reproduction of "Children, race, and memory in the antebellum south" J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections E13.6 2010 .F45
Rights Management © Michelle Fellows, To comply with copyright, the file for this work may be restricted to The University of Utah campus libraries pending author permission.
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 91,448 bytes
Identifier us-etd2,155521
Source Original: University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections
Conversion Specifications Original scanned on Epson GT-30000 as 400 dpi to pdf using ABBYY FineReader 9.0 Professional Edition.
ARK ark:/87278/s6v12kds
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2012-04-23
Date Modified 2017-07-11
ID 193308
Reference URL