Living and Laboring Off the Grid: Black Women Prisoners and the Making of the "Modern" South, 1865-1920

Thursday, February 12, 2015
4:00 - 6:00pm
UCLA | Royce Hall 306

Presented by: Talitha LeFlouria, Florida Atlantic University, History



About the Talk:

In this talk, LeFlouria will provide an in-depth examination of the lived and laboring experiences of imprisoned African-American women in the post-Civil War South, and describe how black female convict labor was used to help construct “New South” modernity. Using Georgia—the “industrial capital” of the region—as a case study, LeFlouria will analyze how African-American women’s presence within the convict lease and chain gang systems of the “empire state” helped modernize the “New South,” by creating a new and dynamic set of occupational burdens and competencies for black women that were untested in the free labor market. In addition to discussing how the parameters of southern black women’s working lives were redrawn by the carceral state, I will also account for the hidden and explicit modes of resistance female prisoners used to counter work-related abuses, as well as physical and sexualized violence.


About the Speaker:


Talitha LeFlouria

Talitha LeFlouria is an assistant professor of history at Florida Atlantic University.  She specializes in the study of black women and convict labor in the post-Civil War South.  Her research was featured in the 2012 Sundance award-nominated documentary, Slavery by Another Name, based on Douglas Blackmon's Pulitzer Prize-winning book on convict leasing in the southern states.  Her inaugural article, "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle Cuts Cordwood: Exploring Black Women's Lives and Labor in Georgia's Convict Camps, 1865-1917," was also nominated for the 2012 Southern Association of Women Historians A. Elizabeth Taylor Prize.  In cooperation with her scholarly achievements, LeFlouria is an accomplished public historian.  She has worked as a researcher for the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, and in 2009, authored the museum's official site booklet, Frederick Douglass:  A Watchtower of Human Freedom.  She, subsequently, appeared on C-SPAN to discuss her publication.  LeFlouria has presented at numerous national conferences, and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in African-American and African-American women's history. Her book. Chained in Silence:  Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South, will be published in 2015.




This event is presented by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women; Cosponsored by Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, Labor Studies Program/Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Institute for American Cultures, Department of English, Department of Gender Studies, Department of African American Studies, and International Institute