Brooding Over Bloody Revenge: Enslaved Women's Lethal Resistance

Regular price $ 24.95

by Nikki M. Taylor

Cambridge University Press

7/18/2023, hardcover

SKU: 9781009276849


From the colonial through the antebellum era, enslaved women in the US used lethal force as the ultimate form of resistance. By amplifying their voices and experiences, Brooding over Bloody Revenge strongly challenges assumptions that enslaved women only participated in covert, non-violent forms of resistance, when in fact they consistently seized justice for themselves and organized toward revolt. Nikki M. Taylor expertly reveals how women killed for deeply personal instances of injustice committed by their owners. The stories presented, which span centuries and legal contexts, demonstrate that these acts of lethal force were carefully pre-meditated. Enslaved women planned how and when their enslavers would die, what weapons and accomplices were necessary, and how to evade capture in the aftermath. Original and compelling, Brooding Over Bloody Revenge presents a window into the lives and philosophies of enslaved women who had their own ideas about justice and how to achieve it.


"Nikki Taylor presents a compelling narrative not only of Black women's deadly force, but also of their organized and collective resistance. This study complicates the agency of women such as Nelly, Betsy, and Ellen, and dispels the idea that enslaved women were passive and powerless." -- Karen Cook Bell, author of Running from Bondage: Enslaved Women and Their Remarkable Fight for Freedom in Revolutionary America

"This book is a powerful, gripping, and violent telling of enslaved women's resistance. It is hard, but necessary scholarship. The past five years have led to an explosion of cutting-edge research that centers black women in nuanced ways. I count Nikki Taylor's new book as part of this welcome wave." -- Kellie Carter Jackson, author of Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence

About the Author:

Nikki M. Taylor is Professor and Chair in the Department of History at Howard University. She specializes in nineteenth-century African American History. This is her fourth book.