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Suicide in the Early American South
Terri Snyder, California State University, Fullerton Foundation
Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=HR-50245-06
Suicide, Slavery, and Memory in North America,” Journal of American History, vol. 97, no. 1 (June 2010), 39-62. (Article) [show prizes]
Title: Suicide, Slavery, and Memory in North America,” Journal of American History, vol. 97, no. 1 (June 2010), 39-62.
Author: Terri L. Snyder
Abstract: In early North America, the subject of slave suicide alarmed traders and masters; their commentary, along with coroner’s inquests, abolitionists' accounts and slave narratives, leaves little doubt that slaves did destroy themselves. Terri L. Snyder considers suicide among slaves in North America from three perspectives: the perception of slave self-destruction, the ecologies of slave suicide, and how one particular collective suicide was later remembered by ex-slaves in the 1930s. Her examination of suicide within North American slavery over the long sweep of American culture removes suicide from the realm of resistance, looking at it from the perspective of the ecologies that fostered self-destruction. This view also historicizes our understanding of suicide within North American slavery, and the ways in which suicide is understood today. The memory of suicide among ex-slaves in the Coastal Sea Islands reflects the power of cultural memory to reshape past tragedy, transforming memories of suicide into stories of power and transcendence.
Primary URL: http://jah.oxfordjournals.org/content/97/1.toc
Periodical Title: Journal of American History
Publisher: Organization of American Historians/Oxford University Press