Custom dating 1920s
While some family stability might be desirable as helping to keep slaves tractable and pacified, anything approaching a legal marriage was not.Marriage gave a couple rights over each other which conflicted with the slave-owners’ claims.In some African-American communities, marrying couples will end their ceremony by jumping over a broomstick, either together or separately.This practice is well attested for as a marriage ceremony for slaves in the Southern United States in the 1840s and 1850s who were often not permitted to wed legally.The simplest approach to avoid this problem is to continue to use the Facebook app but not use the in-app browser.Jumping the broom is a phrase and custom relating to a wedding ceremony where the couple jumps over a broom.Its revival in 20th century African American culture is due to the novel and miniseries Roots (1976, 1977).Dundes (1996) notes the unusual development of how "a custom which slaves were forced to observe by their white masters has been revived a century later by African Americans as a treasured tradition".
Some also began to use the phrase to refer to non-marital unions: a man interviewed in Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor admitted: "I never had a wife, but I have had two or three broomstick matches, though they never turned out happy." Charles Dickens' novel, Great Expectations (first published in serial form in the publication All the Year Round from 1 December 1860 to August 1861), contains a reference in chapter 48 to a couple having been married "over the broomstick." The ceremony is not portrayed, but the reference indicates that the readers would have recognized this as referring to an informal, not a legally valid, agreement.
Probert also points out that the word broomstick was used in the mid-18th century in several contexts to mean ‘something ersatz, or lacking the authority its true equivalent might possess.’ She therefore argues that because the expression broomstick marriage, meaning 'sham marriage', was in circulation, folk etymology led to a belief that people must actually have once signified irregular marriage by jumping over a broom.
There are later examples of the term broomstick marriage being used in Britain, always with a similar implication that the ceremony so performed did not create a legally binding union.
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