Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Dr. Robert Kenzer
WPA narratives uphold that during the institution of slavery there was a wide variety of interracial relationships that ranged from the most brutal rapes to the most loving relationships. While some white slave owners took sadistic pleasure in torturing their slave women, others jeopardized their social standing and career to be with the woman they loved. Therefore, it is difficult to make vast generalizations about interracial relationships during slavery and they should really be examined on a case‐ specific level. However, it can be argued that most interracial relationships fell somewhere in the middle of the two previously stated extremes. Most of these women did not have to endure fierce beatings from their master and many were actually treated quite well. Nevertheless, even if the master did not physically force himself the institution of slavery provided all the force needed to coerce these women into loveless relationships. The narratives from the Jim Crow era reveal that this sexual exploitation continued long after emancipation. In some ways, black women living during the early twentieth century were actually more vulnerable to the advances of white men. As a result, it is no surprise that interracial relationships continued to be condemned by the black community through the 1930s. Although anti‐miscegenation statues were deemed unconstitutional almost half a century ago and remarkable progress has been made in U.S. race relations, the white man’s sexual exploitation of black women during and after slavery has had a lasting impact on future generations.
Murray, Genna K., "The inheritance of lawless passion : an examination of interracial relationships through slave narratives" (2009). Honors Theses. 644.