Black, female and on her own, Milly Pierce embodies in many ways the long, complex and convoluted quest for equality that continues to characterize the odyssey of American women and minorities. This astonishing true story of an enslaved woman who won her freedom and found that the only way she could survive was to herself become a slaveholder echoes the themes of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Edward P. Jones, The Known World. Milly Pierce did not merely survive white oppression, she made a place for herself in the white power structure-and prospered as a "free woman of colour" rather than a freed slave. She did not accept her freedom meekly as a gift from her white master, she claimed that freedom as her own natural condition. As the Virginia legislature imposed new restrictions on free black citizens' right to work, to education, to worship, to assemble and to trial by jury, Milly Pierce literally held her ground, the first black woman to own land in that part of the state, and thriving as an astute businesswoman. CeCe Bullard's meticulously researched book tells her story for the first time.
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About the Author
CeCe Bullard, a columnist for the Richmond (VA) Times Dispatch and the Richmond Style Weekly, edited the Goochland County Historical Society Magazine in which some of the Milly Pierce material originally appeared. She also taught at Virginia Commonwealth University and J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. She was the author of Goochland: Yesterday and Today, A Pictorial History (1994). She earned a BA and MA from George Washington University in Washington DC. Ms. Bullard died in 1999.