The mulatta concubine in diaspora is everywhere.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-02-08 01:37Z by Steven

The mulatta concubine in diaspora is everywhere. She is in representations of Thomas Jefferson’s long-term “relationship” with the enslaved Sally Hemings, begun when she was fourteen and he forty-four (see Gordon-Reed, American Controversy). She is the protagonist who emblemizes Cuban national identity in Cirilo Villaverde’s 1882 novel, Cecilia Valdes: Novela de costumbres cubanas. She is allusively present in the fantastical and garish transformation of an enslaved black woman to sexually powerful white (by virtue of makeup) mistress in the Brazilian film Xica! She is remembered as the owner of the infamous maison des esclaves (house of slaves) on GorĂ©e Island, the former Senegalese slave entrepĂ´t and now major slavery tour destination. She is the enslaved Joanna, “immortalized in John Gabriel Stedman’s Narrative of Five Years’ Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (1806 [1796])” (Sharpe, Ghosts, 46). She is the commodity that drove the fancy slave trade in the antebellum United States. She is present in travelers’ descriptions of antebellum New Orleans’s free women of color. She is “that seductive mulatto woman” in colonial Saint-Domingue (Moreau de Saint-MĂ©ry, Civilization, 81-89).

Lisa Ze Winters, The Mulatta Concubine: Terror, Intimacy, Freedom, and Desire in the Black Transatlantic, (Athens: Georgia University Press, 2016), 3.

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