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Wicked Flesh (Digital Audiobook)

Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World

By Jessica Marie Johnson, Machelle Williams (Narrator)

Publication Date: March 8, 2021

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (11/8/2022)
Hardcover (8/28/2020)
MP3 CD (3/9/2021)
Compact Disc (3/9/2021)


The story of freedom and all of its ambiguities begins with intimate acts steeped in power. It is shaped by the peculiar oppressions faced by African women and women of African descent. And it pivots on the self-conscious choices black women made to retain control over their bodies and selves, their loved ones, and their futures. Slavery's rise in the Americas was institutional, carnal, and reproductive. The intimacy of bondage whet the appetites of slaveowners, traders, and colonial officials with fantasies of domination that trickled into every social relationship—husband and wife, sovereign and subject, master and laborer. Intimacy—corporeal, carnal, quotidian—tied slaves to slaveowners, women of African descent and their children to European and African men. In Wicked Flesh, Jessica Marie Johnson explores the nature of these complicated intimate and kinship ties and how they were used by black women to construct freedom in the Atlantic world.

Johnson draws on archival documents scattered in institutions across three continents, written in multiple languages and largely from the perspective of colonial officials and slave-owning men, to recreate black women's experiences from coastal Senegal to French Saint-Domingue to Spanish Cuba to the swampy outposts of the Gulf Coast.

About the Author

Machelle Williams has crafted an easy storytelling style from twenty-three years as a corporate trainer and keynote diversity speaker. Since 2016 she has successfully produced over twenty-eight audiobook projects.

Machelle's voice is nuanced, ranging from soft and soothing to dramatic and smoky. She specializes in mysteries and thrillers; her bespoke repertoire also includes cozy mysteries and nonfiction, as well as titles in the religious, urban, and noire genres. When you need a narrator to take your listener to the edge of their seat and their breath away, trust the telling to Machelle.