The Marriage

Description

This engraving illustrates a wedding ceremony called "jumping the broom," which is a custom where the couple jumps over a broom. This idiomatic expression sometimes refers to a "sham marriage." In this illustration, Pearson wrote how "the white mistress is compelling her enslaved maid, Mina, to marry in a manner that Mina did not recognize as a proper wedding. The mistress exclaims that if Mina had been willing and obedient she would have made you a pretty wedding in the parlor, and would have called the clergyman in" (pp. 169-170). This passage is from an anti-slavery novel by a Congregationalist author. A native of Connecticut, Pearson had worked as a governess for about a year, 1841-1842, on a slave plantation, Mt. Airy, in Virginia. This experience very much informed her later abolitionist views. For details on the author, see Catherine E. Saunders, Emily Clemens Pearson, 1818-1900, Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, vol. 29 (2012). A major study of slavery at Mt. Airy was produced by Richard Dunn, A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia (Harvard University Press, 2014).

Source

Emily Clemens Pearson [pseudo. Pocahontas], Cousin Francks Household, or, Scenes in the Old Dominion (Boston, 1853), facing p. 169.

Date Created

1840s

Language

English

Rights

Image is in the public domain. Metadata is available under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International.

Identifier

BROOM

Spatial Coverage

North America--Virginia

Citation

"The Marriage", Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora, accessed February 21, 2020, http://www.slaveryimages.org/s/slaveryimages/item/2511
This engraving illustrates a wedding ceremony called "jumping the broom," which is a custom where the couple jumps over a broom. This idiomatic expression sometimes refers to a "sham marriage."  In this illustration, Pearson wrote how "the white mistress is compelling her enslaved maid, Mina, to marry in a manner that Mina did not recognize as a proper wedding. The mistress exclaims that if Mina had been willing and obedient she would have made you a pretty wedding in the parlor, and would have called the clergyman in" (pp. 169-170). This passage is from an anti-slavery novel by a Congregationalist author. A native of Connecticut, Pearson had worked as a governess for about a year, 1841-1842, on a slave plantation, Mt. Airy, in Virginia. This experience very much informed her later abolitionist views. For details on the author, see Catherine E. Saunders, Emily Clemens Pearson, 1818-1900, Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, vol. 29 (2012). A major study of slavery at Mt. Airy was produced by Richard Dunn, A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia (Harvard University Press, 2014).
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