Using archaeological materials recovered from a housesite in Mobile, Alabama, Laurie Wilkie explores how one extended African-American family engaged with competing and conflicting mothering ideologies in the post-Emancipation South.
"Wilkie has produced a detailed and intimate portrait of individual lives, the specificities of female experience, and the lived realities of slavery and social location in nineteenth-century America. This engaging and important book brings together a wealth of archaeological data and theory and demonstrates the rich potentials of social archaeology." -- Lynn Meskell, co-author of Embodied Lives: Figuring Ancient Maya and Egyptian Experience (Routledge, 2003)
"A fresh, new, and most timely and innovative contribution to feminist studies and to historical archaeology. Wilkie elegantly demonstrates how archaeological evidence can be brought to bear on important and highly relevant issues such as: culturally-specific definitions of motherhood and mothering; women's experiences during and after enslavement; racism and its effects on women's lives; midwifery as women's work; and 'recovered biography.' I am in awe of Wilkie's impressive scholarship and abilities as a writer. This is historical archaeology as it should be done; this is historical archaeology at its best." -- Mary C. Beaudry, editor of Documentary Archaeology in the New World