Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Jodi Skipper

Second Advisor

Carolyn Freiwald

Third Advisor

Simone Delerme

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

This project unearths the hidden labor of Black women by analyzing architectural remains, artifacts, and primary and secondary documentary evidence surrounding the urban antebellum Hugh Craft House site in Holly Springs, Mississippi. This project considers the gap in theorizing the hidden labor of Black women in the seldom-researched setting of urban slavery. It also draws on household and Black feminist archaeology theories to uncover the hidden labor in the domestic spheres that the enslaved women were actively shaping. Research methods included watching clips of Behind the Big House tour interpretations; taking a Craft House tour in Holly Springs; looking at primary sources like Works Progress Administration slave narratives, and federal census records; cataloging and analyzing artifacts; and consulting secondary sources on antebellum households, household archaeology, and Black feminist archaeology. This research finds that the layout and architecture of the site were designed to give Black women restricted and hidden access to the main house. It also shows that although the Craft family and descendants still relied on Black labor, after the Civil War, the expectations for their labor were different.

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