“They Were Her Property” is a book by historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers that examines the role of white women in American slavery. The book challenges the notion that white women were simply passive bystanders to slavery, arguing instead that they actively participated in and benefited from the system of slavery.
Jones-Rogers argues that white women-owned and traded enslaved people, and played a central role in perpetuating the institution of slavery. She contends that white women were not only complicit in the brutal treatment of enslaved people but actively participated in it, using their position of power to control and punish enslaved people.
The book draws on a range of sources, including plantation records, court documents, and personal correspondence, to provide a detailed and nuanced picture of the ways in which white women participated in slavery. Jones-Rogers also explores how white women’s participation in slavery shaped their own identities and sense of self, and how they justified their actions through racist ideologies and beliefs.
“They Were Her Property” challenges traditional narratives of American slavery that depict white women as passive and powerless victims of the patriarchal system of slavery. Instead, the book shows how white women actively participated in and benefited from the exploitation of enslaved people, and how their actions contributed to the perpetuation of slavery as an institution.
The book has been praised for its groundbreaking research and its contribution to our understanding of the role of women in American slavery. It has also been criticized by some who argue that it unfairly portrays all white women as complicit in slavery, and fails to acknowledge the agency of enslaved people in resisting their oppression.