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black women as slaves

                                                  FROM 15O5 TO EARLY 1800s

This daguerreotype (ca.1850s) of a slave woman who served as a family nurse predates the Civil War but is a good example of what a house servant looked like during the war.
Papers of the Minor Family, #6055

Jhonan Mercado Women Studies 187 Lisa D. Robinson Question #3 March 28, 1997 Slavery in America The enslavement of the Black man was not the first time slavery existed in history. According to history, another group of people that were enslaved were the Israelites in Egypt. However, no slavery, even that of the Israelites, in history was worse than the slavery of the Black man. The slavery of the Black man in America was the cruelest ever known to man. Europeans transported slaves from Africa as early as 1505. Spaniards brought the slaves to the island of Hispaniola. Some historians say that there were probably Africans on Columbus ships when he first sailed the Atlantic Ocean. These Africans were stripped of their home, culture, and language. The Black man and women was treated as an animal. He was not considered part of the human family. Blacks were taught that their slavery is the way things were meant to be. The white man used religion and other instituting orders to justify slavery in the south. According to historian slavery existed in the deep south because of the  economical situation. However, this does not explain why Africans were enslaved in America. The desperation for people to work the fertile land of the south called for the need of slaves. In Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky the plantations grew tobacco. In South Carolina, rice was grown. Cotton plantation increased in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. These plantation need people to work them. These plantation could not hire indentured servants because it would be to expensive. Indians could not be enslaved because it was easier for them to revolt against their slave masters (the Americas was their home). Africans were the perfect victims because thousands of miles away from home. Therefore, it was hard for these people to escape slavery. In addition, most of these Africans came from different tribes and communication was very hard amongst themselves. This was another flaw of the African slaves. Why would the United States support such an inhuman institution. During the 1790, more than one thousand tons of cotton was produced every year in the South. Eventually, more than a million tons was produced every year. Slavery was the only answer. Between late 1700s and early 1800s, slaves increased from 500,000 to 4 million. Out of all of these slaves, the ones that suffered the most was the Black women. Women were in inferior to men and Blacks were inferior to whites. So, to be a Black women during slavery was a double inferiority, a double negative, it was the lowest point in society. Black women suffered a great deal during slavery. White women were discriminated but they were treated according to their gender in society. In society the women's role was to stay home and cook, while the man's role was to go out and work. The black women did not have the privileged of just staying home. She had to work the fields or in the slave masters house, as well. The Black women had no gender she was treated just like a Black man and sometimes even worst. The severity of the punishments were equal amongst Black men and women. When the Black women was pregnant, she was not excused from her daily chores. Black women suffered more than because Black men did not have to worry about getting raped. Slave masters used Black women for their sexual pleasure. After transportation of slaves from Africa to America became illegal, the need for female slaves became more important for slave masters. Slaves master began to produce slave on their plantation because the accessibility of slaves from Africa was diminishing. Thus, black women become breeders. Therefore, white slave master raped the Black women not only for sexual pleasure, but to create new slaves that were going to replace the old ones. Sometimes the slave masters forced other Black men to have sex with a Black women, while her husband was also forced to watch. Blacks carried a big burden because of slavery, but Black women had to carry a double burden because of her biological makeup. After being raped, the Black women was assured that she was going to keep her child. Most of the times her child was sold off to another slave master, specially if she was a breeder. The family was affected by these division. The African American family during slavery was very unique. The majority of the families were incomplete because most family members were often sold through slavery auction. So, Black men who were relatives took the role of a father figure. Everyone was brothers and sisters because everyone was being oppressed by the same institution. In the African American, the Black men was not above the Black women because they were both in the same situation. The Black man role of being a provider, protector, and even a father was destroyed. The Black man was considered a boy instead of a man. The Black man could not be a provider because he was provided for; he could not be protector because he could not protect himself. Sometimes he could not even be a father because his children were the property of his master. Aside from all the other things the black women had to do, she had to also be a teacher to her children. Slaves were not given an education, other than the negative education that justified slavery. This made it harder for slaves to progress and free themselves from bondage. However, the slaves did find was to resist slavery. When I was young my father once told me, If you hit a man once he might walk away, but if you keep hitting him after that he will eventually internalize all of that anger and return it ten fold back to you. He will eventually rebel against you! The Africans had been stripped of all the had. So they were forced to either live as slaves or die fight of their freedom. Slave resisted slavery revolt the system. It was harder for slaves to revolt in America rather than in the Caribbean. At one time the population of slaves was four times larger than that of the slave masters. So it was easier to have a successful revolt in the Caribbean. In the United States their were to many whites. Slaves revolted by getting armed and then destroying plantations as they traveled from town to town. Another way slaves resisted was by running away mainly to the north. Harriet Tubman was born into slavery she made her way to freedom as a young women. She become the famous conductor of the Underground Railroad. Another form of resistance was not to work as hard. Sometimes slaves even burned the fields they had to work on. The slaves also resisted by forming secret societies, where they could practice their African religions and where they could organize other ways to resist their slave masters. An example of this was Santeria. Santeria was a form of resistance slaves practiced in the Caribbean using religion. The slaves were prohibited to practice their African beliefs. In Santeria the slaves would their beliefs with the use Catholic saints. People say that white supremacy started with slavery of the Black man. White Supremacy started when the Greeks ransacked the Library of Alexandria in Egypt. They stole all of the African teachings and principles and announce them as their own. The Black family is still suffering today. Slavery has not ended; it is more mental now. Word Count: 1258


Ex-slaves tell stories of ...

Horror and heartbreak

 Abuk Atak's beauty was her curse.
 "They raped me. It happened every day with so many men. When I refused I was beaten."
 She recalls one time when she tried to fight, a crazed Muslim battered her with a gun.
 The fury he unleashed shredded one shoulder leaving a huge clump of a scar.
 She was captured when the raiders came back to Panlang three years ago.
 "I was with my child. I don't know where my child is."
 They were torn apart during the raid. The girl was a year and a half old.
 Abuk was taken north to Matarak and sold to a wealthy man she only knows as Mohammed. He had a large cattle camp and owned many slaves.
 "I didn't think of coming home again. We were tortured. We suffered. I can't deny our humiliation. If you are raped, beaten, not given food -- it is humiliation.
 But they didn't break her spirit.
 "Now some of us are coming home. We're left with nothing after the raids. We lost our homes. Our crops were burned, our cattle stolen, some have not even clothes,. But we'll endure that. There's no problem we cannot endure."
 She's going home to her husband and a son who were lucky enough to escape the raiders.

 Ayen Deng Ding saw the horses charging her village of Akek Rot.
 She started to run with her daughter Ajok but was caught, beaten, then tied. Ayen's hands, neck and back are scarred from the tight ropes that ripped her flesh.
 They were marched north to Matarak. Along the way she was raped repeatedly.
 At Matarak, mother and daughter were sold to different Arabs who lived close to one another.
 During her four years of slavery -- caring for cattle and crops, peeling grain, cooking, fetching water -- she was always hungry.
 Her owner had a vicious temper. She saw him beat slaves so badly four of them died -- three men and one woman. Like everyone else, Ayen was beaten, once badly when she was caught trying to escape.
 She says as bad as he was, his wives were worse: "The women mistreat us the worst. They instigate their husbands. Life was very bad."
 When the Arab raider came to buy her she told him about her daughter, now 10. He bought the child too -- saving her from constant beatings and from becoming a concubine.
 Ayen says Arabs take girls who reach her age as their sex slaves.
 "If my daughter would have stayed, she soon would have been taken," says Ayen looking at her child.
 They sit beside one another like the strangers they've become during four years apart.
 Ayen says when she reached the mahogany tree she "had to dance" because she was so happy.
 "But the problem remains. There are still people left behind as slaves They are scattered. And we'll always be afraid they (the raiders) will come back anytime."
  PHOTOS: Ex-slave Abuk Atak (top right) was starved, beaten and raped. Ayen and Ajok (bottom left). -- Slobodian



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