"She was his Concubine": The Archive and Lives of Black Concubine After Reconstruction

Event banner with headshot of Natasha McPherson and event listing information

Event Date

Andrews Conference Room, Social Sciences and Humanities Building

Junior Faculty Exchange 2023

In the wake of slavery, black women living in concubinage became particularly elusive in the archival records. The growing surveillance of black sexual morality and increasing restrictions on interracial sex prompted cohabiting black women to keep their intimate relationships out of the public record whenever possible. Through a critical read of the archive, Dr. McPherson will demonstrate the way that postemancipation concubinage functioned as an extension of slavery’s sexual economy and considers the lives of black women who forged opportunities for themselves through their intimate labor.

Natasha McPherson is an Assistant Professor of African American History at the University of California Riverside. Professor McPherson received her Ph.D. in History from Emory University. Her research examines the lives of southern black women living in the wake of slavery and Reconstruction. She is currently completing her book manuscript, Women and the Making of Creole New Orleans. Professor McPherson’s book examines Afro-Creole women’s efforts in their households and neighborhoods to delay their own subjection as part of a collective, socio-political struggle in early Jim Crow New Orleans.

Feminist Research Institute
UC Davis Humanities Institute
UC Riverside Center for Ideas and Society