This book presents one woman's drive to eclipse race and gender boundaries. In this fascinating biography set in nineteenth-century Savannah, Georgia, Janice L. Sumler-Edmond resurrects the life and times of Aspasia Cruvellier Mirault, a free woman of color whose story was until now lost to historical memory. It's a story that informs our understanding of the antebellum South as we watch this widowed matriarch navigate the social, economic, and political complexities to create a legacy for her family.In the spring of 1842, Aspasia entered a secret trust with a white man whose help she needed to become a landower. Sumler-Edmond's research of Aspasia's family and this trust arrangement, the outcome of which was determined by a dramatic three-party trial that went to the Georgia Supreme Court in 1878, provides new perspectives on the African American experience and on American history while telling the memorable story of a remarkable woman.
Janice L. Sumler-Edmond is professor of history and chair of the Department of Humanities and Fine Arts and director of the W.E.B. Dubois Honors Program at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas. She is coeditor of two previous books: Freedom's Odyssey: African American History Essays from Phylon and Black Women's History at the Intersection of Knowledge and Power: ABWH's Twentieth Anniversary Anthology.