Slavery: Experiences and Perspectives

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Case Study 03: Slavery
Between 1830 and 1860 American southerns had switched their focus toward the cheap land and slave labor found in states such as Alabama and Mississippi. Southern economic prosperity derived from the demand for cotton and the advancement of the cotton gin. From 1820 to 1860 the South experienced a swift growth in slave populace and dependency. Regardless of the morality of slavery, owning slaves was a highly profitable business. Labor hours were extensive, training was minimum, and management was tolerable. Yet, it is imperative that we analyze the lives of black slaves in the southern regions of North America and consider how they viewed slavery. Primary sources such as interviews, songs, and biographies give extensive insight at some enslaved individuals experiences and perspectives.

It is critical to consider the expected lifestyle the majority of black slaves had to endure on southern plantations. Recognizing details such as slave dieting, housing conditions, apparel, work load, and reputation will aid in concluding how slaves regarded slavery. Other factors such as the owner's attitude, plantation size, and gender played a role in the treatment of enslaved blacks. To start, the daily role of a slave consisted of dedicating over 10 hours a day working on various chores or “assignments” on the plantation. Concentrating on field slaves, workers were forced to complete a variance of jobs such as cultivating, digging, hauling, and harvesting crops. One the other hand, the work load of house slaves was less rigorous. Usually women, house slaves were in charge of household work such as cooking, cleaning, and seamstresses. Whether working in the house or on the fields, enforcement of rules was strict and disciplinary. The authoritative individual who suspected any slave to be slacking or negating their duties were severely punished. Ruthless punishments included but were not limited to whippings or shackled detention. It is vital to...
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