Whether a black woman, free or slave, was in an urban or rural area also influenced her experiences of family and community. Zimbabwe Metro Map In cities, enslaved women were more acculturated, since they often inhabited households with few or no other servants and were isolated from larger communities of Africans. Some enslaved women in cities were able to earn money through cooking, sewing, and vending enterprises in which they agreed to pay their masters a set fee, while keeping profits that exceeded that fee.
By doing so, such women were sometimes able to purchase their freedom and the freedom of their children and other family members. In areas where farm labor was organized on a task basis, as in South Carolina (enslaved laborers were assigned tasks that needed to be completed but were not required to work particular hours), women also might engage in forms of economic enterprise outside their assigned tasks. In both cases, such opportunities were limited by the power of masters and the bias of laws, forces that often worked against free blacks as well, despite their putative independence.
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