"Occupation: Land Owner": African American Female Property Ownership in Clarendon County, South Carolina, 1870-1910
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentHistory and Geography
ProgramMaster of Arts
This paper examines African American women landowners in Clarendon County, South Carolina to understand women's economic agency, self-sufficiency, and independence. Ownership of property, especially land, has been the goal of Americans since the before the founding of the United States. The story of black landownership in the South as currently told, however, largely excludes rural female landowners, particularly those who were not free prior to emancipation, or who were married and purchased land singularly. Using rural African American women in Clarendon County, as examples, this paper will look at the reasons for African American women’s longing for land ownership, the impact of property laws on women, the means through which they obtained the land, and the ways in which they retained and protected the land for their descendants.