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Transcript of American Slavery
Becoming a Slave
Impact on Family
Men v. Women
Resistance to Slavery
Controlling and Punishment
Most often, slaves would resist their masters in small ways, only rarely engaging in violent uprisings. Slaves instead would:
lie about disease in animals so the animals would be given to them for food
preach to each other about freedom instead of obeying their master
kill their babies to prevent them from becoming slaves
refuse to work or work slowly
sing spiritual songs
misplace certain items and destroy machinery
set fire to buildings
insult their master
spit in their master's drinks
try to escape
Due to the unsanitary living conditions slaves often easily caught diseases like:
Slaves never got much or a great variety of food.
They were given three and a half pounds of bacon and about 2 gallons worth of corn.
Slaves only ever got about 10 to 15 minute to eat their lunch of cold bacon.
On some plantations, the laborers were given Indian meal, rice, milk, and sometimes pork and soup.
Food was handed out every Sunday at the corn-crib and smoke-house.
The slaves were taken from the coast of Africa and brought to the Americas and the Caribbean by boat.
The slaves are packed on ships using a loose or hard pack. The ships, known as slavers, can hold 200 to 600 slaves at a time.
When on the ship, the slaves are naked, closed off from sunlight and air, had little room to move, and are chained together.
Since there is little space for a slave, the slaves would kill each other in hopes of getting more room.
With the little room the slaves had, there was no room to use the bathroom except for where you were .
This lead to diseases on board the ship and caused the slave ship to have a strong odor.
The slaves would die from diseases and the slaves that died would be thrown overboard. About 10% - 20% of all the slaves on the ship died.
The slaves would often fight for the little amount of food they got, even though it did not settle in their stomachs well.
A child born of one free parent and one slave parent was himself free if the free parent was his mother.
This was to keep as many slaves as possible. Since the baby needs its mother, it can't be with its father if the father is a slave and his mother is free.
The slave auction was advertised and many people came to the auction, whether to buy a slave or just watch the auction.
The slaves that were being auction were held for up to a week prior to be inspected by the buyers.
The slaves would have their wounds tarred and their skin oiled to make them look healthier so they will get sold for more money.
Any slave that went away from his plantation had to have a pass. The slave had to show this pass to any white who requested to see it.
While being examined, slaves would try to appeal to the buyers who they thought were kinder. Also, they would be tested to see if they were lame or had any disabilities.
This was to help keep the slaves broken. It took away their freedom to walk freely. They were always controlled by the whites.
It was illegal to cruelly mistreat or kill a slave unless the slave resisted punishment.
This was to keep people from just killing slaves with reckless abandon. It also kept other people from killing another slave owner's slave(s).
No slave was allowed to preach, except to the slaves on his or her plantation, and in the presence of whites.
The idea behind this law was to keep slaves from preaching anti-white material and trying to form rebellions.
Most cities had laws controlling the behavior of slaves in public. For example, slaves in Charleston, South Carolina were not allowed to swear, smoke, or walk with a cane. Slaves and free blacks in Richmond, Virginia had to step aside when whites passed then in the street.
This was to keep the slaves at a lower class than whites. The whites wanted to make sure the slaves knew they weren't equals.
According to Frederick Law Olmsted's story, slaves were often whipped on either their bare or clothed backs and legs. They were whipped regardless of if their mistake was their fault or not.
Preachers told their fellow slaves to hold their masters to the same level as God. These preachers think that it's best to just do their work diligently than to get whipped for resisting.
A man named Ternce Stampp created a list of steps on how to break a slave.
If a slave was said to be lame, they would be exercised to see if they were actually lame. If a slave was lame, then they would be bought for less and had a better chance to buy their freedom.
In an auction, the men would be sold for more than the women. Also, men were called bucks while women were called wenches.
The auctioneer would make the slaves sound better so he could get more money for them.
Men would be the ones to work in the fields while most of the women worked in the house. This happened because if the women was pregnant, it would not be healthy for her to work in the field and the owner could lose a free slave.
Establish and maintain a strict discipline.
Implant in the bondsman a consciousness of personal inferiority.
Awe them with a sense of their master's enormous power.
Persuade the bondsman to take an interest in their master's enterprise and to accept his standards of good conduct.
Impress the Negroes with their helplessness, to create in them a "habit of perfect dependence" upon their masters.
The slaves day would start before sunrise with the slaves getting up and going out into the cotton field.
The slaves would work all morning until around noon when they got a break, ranging from 15 minutes to an hour, to eat their allowed amount of food.
The slaves would be working all day without any idle time, unless they were instructed to do so.
The slaves would work from sunrise until it was too dark to see. When there was a full moon, they would work longer.
The slaves were brought on to the deck so they can be cleaned off, as well as exercised. While the slaves were on the deck, a crew member went to where the slaves were to muck it out.
Work was all day in the cotton field under the hot sun.
There was no idle time for the slaves unless they were told to do so.
The only time there was a break was when they ate lunch.
On days with a full moon, slaves could even work late into the night
Slave families were often broken apart. The child was separated from the mother at an early age to prevent attachment. This was also done to destroy the mothers attachment for the child.
Slaves were not able to get married. However, if a master saw two slaves together too much, he would tell them that they were ,married and make them live together.
If a member of a slave family was being punished, the whole family saw. This left permanent scaring on the children for seeing their father or mother get punished.