The Butcher of Richard Street: Hannah Mary Tabbs, Black Womanhood, Violence, and Sovereignty
Hannah Mary Tabbs, an African American southern migrant, was accused of throwing the severed torso of her paramour off of a bridge in Eddington, Pennsylvania, in 1887. Through the trial and investigation Tabbs emerged at once as a figure steeped in the horror and tragedy of American slavery and its violent aftermath and as a brutal neighborhood terror in her own right. Whereas most studies of black women in this era focus on their victimization, this research explores an instance of black female violence that did not appear to be explicitly motivated by self-defense or even financial gain but rather by the sheer thrill of the exercise of power and domination, and, ultimately, pleasure. Further, this presentation ponders whether a black woman’s decision to mobilize violence on her own behalf may uniquely sketch and challenge the interstices of race, gender, sexuality, and state power.
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Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of History
Mon, Sep 24, 2018
04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto