The Black soldiers of the Fourth 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 formerly enslaved people who had seized their freedom by joining and aiding the Union cause. Over the course of six weeks, in December 1863 and January 1864, they 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 and Black labor (terms that were still very much rooted in the prisms and discourses of enslavement). More importantly, as free labor Black women began to negotiate a deeply abusive racial and sexual terrain.

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