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BLACKOGRAPHY - Sylvie Dubois

 
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pattigurlatl View Drop Down
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    Posted: Feb 07 2013 at 5:10pm

Female Slave as Boxer: The remarkable life of Sylvie Dubois!

Sylvie (Slyvia) Dubois, Born March 5, 1768, Credit: NYPL

Sylvie (Sylvia) Dubois, Born March 5, 1768, Credit: NYPL

Sylvie Dubois (Sylvia in some texts) was said to have lived to 122 years of age, and at 116 was memorialized in the book, A Biografy of the Slav Who Whipt her Mistress and Gand her Freedom by C. W. Larison.   

The text itself, written in 1884 was done so by a man who’d invented his own Phonic Orthography to “capture” language — and while portions of the original text can be read online at Google Scholar, it must be realized that the “lens” for C. W. Larison’s questions and interpretations were in accordance with late 19th century views of women and race.

Sylvie Dubois remains a fascinating figure and as noted in Boxing Historian Christopher James Shelton’s recent article, American slave boxer: Sylvie Dubois, she lived a remarkable life.

Shelton wrote that Sylvie Dubois grew up in New Jersey, becoming the property of a French businessman identified as a Mr. Dubois after her mother, Dorcas, failed to repay a loan.  Sylvie eventually came to work for Mr. Dubois in his tavern in Great Bend, Pennsylvania becoming as Shelton says, his “trusted partner” as well as the opportunity to earn money, but still — as a slave.  Using her quick intelligence and wit, and purportedly at 5’10″ and over 200 pounds, she became invaluable as a bouncer and pugilist, fighting what Shelton calls, “impromptu” bare knuckle/wrestling bouts.

Sylvie, however, was still a slave, subject to the cruel abuses of her slave masters, which not only included Mr. Dubois, but his wife who was purportedly particularly hard on her.  In a what became a final showdown, Mrs. Dubois was said to have slapped Sylvie across the face for some infraction or another whereupon Sylvie is alleged to have cold-cocked her with one punch to the face.  Sylvie feared for her life, but most amazingly was offered a chance at freedom: Mr. Dubois would grant her freedom provided she got back to New Jersey.

As Shelton states in his article, after a difficult journey, she eventually found her way to the town of New Brunswick, New Jersey, where after reuniting with her mother, she was able to find work as a servant.  Her story of course does not end there!

For further information on Sylvie Dubois’ remarkable life please click on the following links:

Christopher James Shelton: American slave boxer: Sylvie Dubois

C. W. Larison: A Biografy of the Slav Who Whipt her Mistress and Gand her Freedom 

From the Princeton Press, January 26, 1884: Sylvia Dubois, 116 Years Old 

From MELUS,Vol. 20, No 2., a scholarly examination: The Peals of her Terrific Language by Michael C. Berthold

Special thanks to Christopher James Shelton for his insightful work in bringing Sylvie Dubois’ story to life.



Edited by pattigurlatl - Feb 07 2013 at 11:47pm
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pattigurlatl View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pattigurlatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 07 2013 at 10:41pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EPITOME Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 07 2013 at 10:44pm
wait---are you putting these in the black history thread as well?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pattigurlatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 07 2013 at 10:51pm
Originally posted by EPITOME EPITOME wrote:

wait---are you putting these in the black history thread as well?
This one isn't.

But most of them are in the first pages of the BHM thread.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote carolina cutie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 07 2013 at 10:52pm
So after Sylvie cold c*cked his wife, Mr. Dubois offered her freedom?

Her story would make for a great movie!
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pattigurlatl View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pattigurlatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 07 2013 at 10:53pm
Originally posted by carolina cutie carolina cutie wrote:

So after Sylvie cold c*cked his wife, Mr. Dubois offered her freedom?

Her story would make for a great movie!
I totally agree!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ImThatDiva Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 07 2013 at 11:46pm
Originally posted by carolina cutie carolina cutie wrote:

So after Sylvie cold c*cked his wife, Mr. Dubois offered her freedom?

Her story would make for a great movie!
LOLLOLLOL She was sonning them. And I agree, it would make a very interesting film. I wish more people would reply to these threads.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EPITOME Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 08 2013 at 12:31am
Originally posted by carolina cutie carolina cutie wrote:

So after Sylvie cold c*cked his wife, Mr. Dubois offered her freedom?

Her story would make for a great movie!


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