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'til Death or Distance Do Us Part

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Table of Contents

One: Adam and Eve, Antony and Isabella ; Two: Terms of Endearment ; Three: Practical Thoughts, Divine Mandates, and the Afro-Protestant Press ; Four: Rights and Rituals ; Five: Myths, Memory, and Self-Realization ; Six: Getting Stories Straight, Keeping Them Real ; Seven: Alchemy of Personal Politics ; Eight: Me, Mende, and Sankofa: An Epilogue

About the Author

Frances Smith Foster is Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Women's Studies (Emeritus) at Emory University. Her previous books include Written By Herself: Literary Production by African American Women, 1746-1892 (Indiana UP, 1993), Witnessing Slavery: The Development of the Ante-Bellum Slave Narrative (Greenwood, 1979), and several edited collections. Her VSI to African American Literature is forthcoming.


This is a challenging and important text. After deconstructing our national myths about marriage and our specific assumptions about African American marriage, Foster masterfully reconstructs the reality of marriage for enslaved black people. Rather than finding a fragile institution of transient attachments, she uncovers a legacy of love, struggle, and commitment. By choosing whom to love, how to love, and what to sacrifice, black Americans carved out space for their human selves. Their marriages contributed to decades of resistance against the dehumanizing effects of slavery. Although there is not a hint of sentimentalism, this book is truly an inspiring love story. * Melissa Harris-Lacewell, author of Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought *

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