It was against the law for enslaved people to choose whom they would marry. Some enslaved people were granted permission from their enslavers to marry and were wed. And some defied the law and got married secretly. In both cases, marriages of enslaved people were never legally recognized. Some enslaved people married as a way to resist attempts to take away their humanity. They found ways to form families and maintain cultural traditions. These images show two couples getting married using a custom called “jumping the broom.”
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