Lecture 2 - Slavery and South Before the Civil War Excellent note!!! Very in-depth and elaborated based on the lectures in class
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HIST110 Jan 12 2011
The Peculiar Institution: Slavery & the South before the Civil War
- 1937, US government hired unemployed historians to go around US and
collect oral history of few remaining slaves.
- Reynolds was enslaved in Louisiana (circa. 1830s – 1865) & interviewed in
1937 in Dallas Texas.
- Was not aware of her date of birth.
- Grew up with her mother and five sisters.
- Lived in slave quarters, edge of plantation by the fields with very little
furniture and dirt floors.
To Be a Slave
- Masters supplied food for their slaves (corn meal, beans, rice).
- Most slaves worked in the fields and days were long.
- Slaves could be sold at anytime, could not own property, enter into contracts,
everything they produced belonged to masters, tied to masters households,
could not leave without permission.
- Spent their entire lifetime these horrible condition
- Helped by participating in religious activities, told their own songs, stories,
and own language (Gullah).
- Sometimes friendships developed between whites and African Americans.
- Some masters routinely sexually assaulted African American Women.
- There weren’t many slave rebellions.
- In 1822, an ex-slave Denmark Basey, planned a revolt around Charleston
South Carolina. Revolt was revealed and eventually crushed.
- 1831 rebellion of Matt Turner in Virginia. Bloody, violent, lasted for couple of
days, white owners were killed. However, revolt eventually ended.
- Reason for few revolts, slaves had all odds stacked against them; weight of
Supreme Court, military, etc.
Brief History of Southern Slavery (1619-1800)
- Evolved over a long period of time, and not brought over when Europeans
- Slavery was an entrenched (organized) social system; most though it was an
institution that was always going to be part of American culture.
- First Africans arrived in 1619, and unloaded 20 Negros.
- Most historians believed those 20 Africans served similar roles as servants.
- Southern colonies were primarily agricultural colonies. Ex. Virginia Tobacco
plantations were widespread.
- Primarily mono-crop economies (specialize in 1 crop).