Slavery and the Making of AmericaPolitical caricature depicting black and white men and women interacting
Time and Place Slave Memories Resources The Slave Experience

The Slave Experience: Men, Women & Gender
Intro Historical Overview Character Spotlight Slave Clothing Personal Narratives Original Docs
The Clothes Make the Man, the Woman, and the Slave
Link to Gender Specific Clothing Link to The Power of a Uniform Link to Clothing for slave children Link to Dress that Oppressed and Clothing that Liberated Link to Nudity and the Captive Body Link to Slave Women and the Head-Wrap
Photo of a male and a female African-American slaves in a field wearing similar clothing
Gender Specific Clothing

Adult male and female slaves usually dressed in clothing deemed gender appropriate by white society. Thus, men were given pants, women dresses. In the winter, masters generally distributed extra clothing to their slaves. These supplemental items, and others constructed by the slaves themselves, were also different for men and women. For instance, under their skirts women often made and wore pantalets, pant-like items that reached just above the knee. While men were given knee-length coats to wear during the colder seasons, women received heavy wraps, which they wore as shawls. The picture above, though taken after Emancipation, shows a black man and woman in the gender distinct clothing that they would have worn as slaves.

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