Ipsen, Pernille. ‘“The Christened Mulatresses”: Euro-African Families in a Slave-Trading Town’. The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 70, no. 2, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 2013, pp. 371–398.
In the 1760s “Mulatresse Lene” was cassaret (married) to Danish interim governor and slave trader Frantz Joachim Kühberg in Osu on the Gold Coast. The local history of Ga-Danish families such as hers in Osu illustrates how Euro-African women on the West African coast could benefit from marrying European slave traders and could use these marriages to expand their room for maneuver in the coastal society. By marrying European men, christening their children, and sending them to the church school at the Danish fort, Euro-African women claimed a powerful intermediary position in the racialized social hierarchy of the Atlantic slave trade, and as they did so they helped reproduce this same racial hierarchy. Yet Euro-African families were not just taking advantage of their position to widen their opportunities; they were also using it as a means of protection in a violent and stressful slave-trading environment. At the height of the slave trade in the second half of the eighteenth century, Africans participating in the slave trade—even elite Euro-Africans such as Kühberg and her family—were under pressure to protect themselves and their families from being sold across the Atlantic.