Slaves In America
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I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands on the back of nearly 4 million beaten, run-down African-American slaves that made up the foundation of this great country. A people ripped from their families and the place they called home to suffer through 2 centuries of injustice. There were larger forces that shaped the experience of African-Americans in the time of slavery in the U.S. A huge factor was the white slave owners want of free labor. Another force that shaped their experience was the fear of god instilled in their minds by their slave owners. A final force was the white persons fear of a revolt, or uprising, in the slave community. Another aspect of slavery that will be talked about was the kinds of strategies or behaviors the African-American used to shape their own destiny. Many free African-Americans used their ability to write petitions for the courts or to give speeches in a public forum. The enslaved African-Americans used songs, in which they called them Spirituals, and also they told folk tales in the slaves quarters to communicate with one another. A final strategy that will be talked about was a rare occurrence when a slave took his destiny into his own hands and went on a murderous rampage with some followers.
When settlers first came to the soils of, what we now call, America they brought with them indentured servants. Some were white and some were black. The indentured servants would work the land for whomever they owed debt too, and after so many years of labor their debt would be paid off, and theyd be freed. This last only as long as the white mans fair and equal treatment lasted. The white property owners realized they could enslave just black me and women from Africa for no pay, in order to turn nothing but profit on whatever their trade. Alas, the start of slavery in America. White men did not pay these people anything, in a document written by Solomon Northup, a free black who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, he states just how much a slave was paid. “Each one receives, as his weekly allowance, three and a half pounds of bacon, and corn enough to make a peck of a meal.”(Northup; Finkenbine 44) With a salary payout of pig and corn, you can be sure the white slave owners pockets got fat, and they wanted to keep it that way. Fat and corn isnt the only thing slave owners gave their servants, many slaves were converted to Christianity.
Slaves had a wide variety of religions before coming to America, in fact in the south where whites were few and far between many black slaves still practiced their own religions as told by Charles Ball in African Culture in the Lowcountry. “They are universally subject to the grossest and most abject superstition; and uniformly believe in witch-craft, conjuration, and the agency of evil spirits in the affairs of human life.”(Ball; Finkenbine 14) The biggest wave of Africans converting to Christianity was known as the great awakening which occurred between 1730 and 1760. John Marrant, a free black, talks much about how he turned to Christianity, as did thousands of other blacks (slaves and free blacks) during the Great Awakening. An ironic twist is that through the way slaves were punished and the reasons why were a great cause of conversion in many slaves. When a man is beating you saying “he has the devil in him and it must be whipped out,” (Douglas; Finkenbine 45) you will tend to want to steer towards praising the white mans god to show that you dont have the devil in you.
A fear that lingered in the white community was the fear of revolt. There were many attempts at revolts by slaves in that time, but most of which went unsuccessful. The white people had certain ways to keep the slaves in a constant state of fear, so that they would be too afraid to stand up for the right cause. These tactics included whippings; sever beatings, and other forms of public humiliation. One example of such a sever beating was documented by David Walker, “He