As an African-American novel and historical artifact, Incidents constituted a critical intervention into the early African-American Literary Canon and African-American historiographies of slavery by foregrounding the experiences of black women under slavery. Before black feminist challenges to the African-American literary and historiographic canons in the 1970s and '80s, the former and the latter foregrounded themes of slavery, racism, social inequality, and black cultural resistance, but failed to highlight the specific exigencies faced by black women under slavery; namely, institutionalized rape and reproductive violence. Thus, Incidents, along with other black women's novels and historiographies, directed critical attention to the ways in which race and gender interacted in the lives of black bondswomen to produce gender-specific conditions of unfreedom.
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