Slave Culture- African or American?

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Henry Herrill, 5
Slave Culture: African or American

Despite the abduction of millions of blacks from their homeland, slaves developed a strong familial camaraderie in America, retaining their African traditions as seen through dance, language, clothing and hairstyle. Although kinship ties were usually broken during the slavery process, blacks living on the same plantation created a strong-knit community that took part in festivals that highlighted the vibrant music and dancing of the African culture. Additionally, blacks expressed the individuality and uniqueness of their African tribe through their clothing and distinct hairstyles. The constant influx of black slaves into America guaranteed the survival of the African culture, as more and more generations of slaves replenished the African heritage (Yacavone 570). Although most evidence suggests slave culture was rooted in Africa, slave advocacy in adopting Christianity supports the theory of their assimilation into American culture.

In dealing with the hardships of slavery, blacks endeavored in numerous efforts of rebellion and escape to avoid assimilation into the American culture. Nat Turner’s revolt embodied African resistance towards American tradition, as Turner sought to free his fellow slaves from oppression and achieve a sense of equality, as seen through the eyes of God (eblackstudies.org). As a result of enslavement, blacks became united in times of resistance, as their “ethnic heritage bonded and emboldened them and underlay their New World identity as ‘Africans,’ forged in their common struggle (Rucker 285). Similar to the tightly bonded African extended family, slaves exhibited strong camaraderie during times of escape, as it was common for Africans to leave in bands of six or more people (Couvares 290). Slave participation in communal festivals each year promoted the existence of the lively African culture, as they congregated by the hundreds to perform rituals, sing, and dance. The...
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