Opinion: White Women Owned Slaves and Vigorously Defended the Institution of Slavery

In her new book, They Were Her Property, Historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers investigates the role of white women in the American slave economy. A New York Times review of the book explains, “Jones-Rogers puts the matter plainly. White slave-owning women were ubiquitous. Not only did they profit from, and passionately defend, slavery, but the institution “was their freedom.” White women were more likely to inherit enslaved people than land. Their wealth brought them suitors and gave them bargaining power in their marriages. If their husbands proved unsatisfactory slave owners in their eyes, the women might petition for the right to manage their “property” themselves, which they did, with imaginative sadism.”

No matter how hard Hollywood has tried in the past or even tries in the present to make white women some type of ally for, or sympathizer to African slaves in America, the facts are the facts. These slave-owning women were just as brutal, if not more so, than slave-owning men. 12 Years a Slave is the only “slavery” movie, that I can remember, where the slave-owning wife was portrayed to be just as brutal to the slaves as the slave-owning husband.

The same New York Times review explains, “Jones-Rogers reveals how the violence of slave-owning women especially could go unchecked, particularly when the victims were black children. She gives the example of Henrietta King. As an 8- or 9-year-old, King was accused of stealing candy. Her mistress wedged King’s head under a rocking chair. For about an hour, she rocked back and forth on King’s head while her young daughter whipped her. King’s face was mutilated. For the rest of her life she was unable to eat solid food.”

White women have provided a whole lot of evidence in the past and in the present that they are much more interested in protecting their financial interests than protecting their family or humanity at large. Let’s not forget, Donald Trump enjoys very large support from white women even though this man has demonstrated misogynistic views throughout his life. Let’s also not forget that white women, fifty-one percent of them if memory serves me correctly, voted for Roy Moore, an apparent and accused pedophile, to become a U.S. Senator from Alabama. In that same Alabama election, Black Alabamians (in particular- Black women Alabamians), had to come out of the woodworks and overwhelmingly vote for Doug Jones in order to keep this accused pedophile out of the U.S. Senate. The man was banned from local malls for Pete’s sake! Obviously, that didn’t matter to most white women voters in Alabama. That Alabama election was just in 2017.

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