Her Refusal to Be Recast(e): of Resistance by Yolanda Pierce Annie L. Burton's 1909 autobiography, Memories of Childhood's Slavery Days, is the postbellum slave autobiography of an "ordinary" black woman, who refuses to be re-enslaved in either word or in deed. In her simply written narrative, she offers extraordinary resistance to the emerging racial caste system of Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction America. While her text begins with reminiscences about her childhood in chattel bondage, at the heart of her work is the power struggle between black women domestic workers and their white female employers. The story of her voyage from slavery in Clayton, Alabama, to domestic work in the industrial North, and finally to business-ownership in Jacksonville, Florida, charts the powerful economic and social forces that attempted to re-inscribe a system of slavery onto the first generation of nominally freed African Americans. Burton's refusal to participate in this reinstatement of her slave condition challenged the pervasive image of black woman as "mammy," that is, the faithful, obedient domestic servant. Burton's Memories of Childhood's Slavery Days details not only one woman's quest from slavery to physical freedom but also her journey from a proscribed role to the creation of her
The Southern Literary Journal – University of North Carolina Press
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