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.

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 September 18, 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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