Category: Artifacts

Intern Reflections: The Material Culture of Textile Production

The spinning wheel that currently sits in the Calvin Jones House has long stopped producing thread, but while I studied it I was inspired me to think about conflicts around spinning and textile production and consider how this history is as political as it is material. The spinning wheel, though not original to the home, would have been the style of wheel used by enslaved women like Judy, Becky, and Comfort who lived and labored on Calvin Jones’s plantation in the 1820s. With great skill and patience, these women would have been able to produce large quantities of yarn in a relatively short time using this wheel.¬†Several letters between Calvin and Temperance Jones suggest that Judy, Becky, and Comfort frequently refused to spin, despite being ordered to do so. This kind of resistance from enslaved workers refusing to spin is documented in other sources as well.

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