University of Connecticut

Events Calendar

Dr. Crystal Feimster: Rape and Mutiny at Fort Jackson, LA

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
4:00pm – 6:30pm

Storrs Campus
Dodd Konover Auditorium

The black soldiers of the 4th Regiment of the Native Guard (also known as the Corps d’Afrique) stationed at Fort Jackson, Louisiana and the laundresses, who served them and their white officers, were former slaves who had seized their freedom by joining and aiding the Union cause. Over the course of six weeks, in December 1863 and January 1864 these former slaves engaged in open munity to protest racial and sexual violence inflicted by white Union officers. In so doing they made visible the violent terms of interracial interaction that informed the meaning of wartime freedom. More importantly, black women so often left out of the story, armed with the rights of wartime citizenship began to negotiate a deeply abusive racial and sexual terrain. The case also illuminates, through the letters and reports of Brigadier General William Dwight, Jr., important and neglected aspects of the Civil War, such as the violent relationship between white officers and black soldiers and reflects evolving ideas about black military service and the rights of former slaves. Taken together, the experiences of both the black and the white participants, male and female reveal a collaborative effort on both sides to define black freedom in their own terms—terms rooted in shared assumptions about what was possible, what was likely, and what was right.

Crystal N. Feimster a native of North Carolina is an associate professor in the Department of African American Studies and the American Studies Program at Yale University; and she is also affiliated with both the History Department and the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. Her publications include “The Impact of Racial and Sexual Politics on Women’s History,” Journal of American History (2012), “’How are the Daughters of Eve Punished?’ Rape During the American Civil War,” in Writing Women’s History, ed. Elizabeth Anne Payne (Oxford: Mississippi University Press, 2011), and “General Benjamin Butler & the Threat of Sexual Violence During the American Civil War,” Daedalus (American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Spring, 2009). Her prize winning book, Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching (Harvard University Press, 2009) examines the roles of both black and white women in the politics of racial and sexual violence in the American South. In 2010 she was named in the The Root 100 as one of a new generation of African-American leader. She has been a fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Science (Cambridge, Ma) and a visiting scholar in the School of Social Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ). She is currently writing a book entitled, Sexual Warfare: Rape and the American Civil War.


Amanda Cannada 860-486-3630,

Africana Studies Institute (primary), African American Cultural Center, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UConn Master Calendar, Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies

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