HI330 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Ring Shout, Cuisine Of The Southern United States, Fictive Kinship

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Published on 16 Apr 2013
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HI330 Lecture Slave Cultures and Families
February 5, 2013
-They were expected to work by their masters
-Work for the benefit of another person and not their own
Occupational Variety
-Regional variation
-Nature of their work varied substantially
-Northern slave live without any other slaves or possibly with 1 or 2 more
perhaps in the house of the slave holders and work in a small farm, small
industry, domestic, trade etc both skilled and unskilled labour
-
-Urban and rural
-Skilled and unskilled labour
-Philadelphia, 1767
-Variety of different jobs
-Might work with a merchant or shop keeper, artisan, be a sailor
-Change over time
-Industry
-Increasingly important role in industry in the north
-Ship building, rope, sail making
-Mining of coal, iron and worked in refineries to refine iron
-Chesapeake
-Iron industry offered relative privilege
-Would work 5 days a week instead of 6 or 7 and if you worked the
weekend you would be paid
Plantation Work Discipline
-Overseers
-Costs of excessive coercion
-Could result in their workers being sick, break tools or equipment and
sloppy work would eventually cost them money
-Some slaves would rebel
-Solutions
-Black drivers?
-Supervised other slaves
-Task system?
-Deep System to set work limits that gave slaves some free time
-Work-related discipline
-17th century petitioned the courts to discipline their unruly slaves via the
legal system
-18th century slaveholders assumed absolute sovereignty over their
plantation masters authority was rarely questioned and the law rarely got
involved
-African slaves had no court of last resort to defend them
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-Accommodations
-Conflicting ideas about work
-Limits to the amount of work a slave could actually do
-Conflict between the infinite labour needs of masters and slaves had little
incentive to work patters of work that accommodated master and slave
-There was some degree of compromise that took place
-English masters and slaves had different expectations of the amount of work
that was capable of one person
-Whites were becoming increasingly aware of using their time the most
effectively (19th century) expected servants to work from dawn to dusk
with brief breaks only to eat
-West African work patters were communal and slow paced to make up for
the hot temperatures
-Masters found that slaves would work longer and harder in groups and if
they were allowed to sing songs
-Owners went to great lengths to get more work from their slaves
-Back and forth process
Growing Profits, Growing Stricter
-1775: ¼ million slaves
-Most lived in the South
-Increasing
-Profitability as number of slaves increased
-Becomes more and more important to the colonial and American
economy
-Masters bought more slaves and more land
-Harshness
-AA were largely confined to plantations and their punishments
became more harsh, more closely supervised, work was more and
more regimented over time
-Reduced their holidays to 3 Christmas, Easter and 1 other and
Saturdays and Sunday usually became work days for the tobacco
fields
-Most stretched the work day in to the evening and asked them to do
different types of work
-Worked picked up in the winter removing stumps from fields,
cleaning pastures and repairing buildings
-Chesapeake
-Patters and qualities of work?
-More than half of the population worked in the tobacco fields
-Washington 400+ slaves by of the time of the Revolution
-Prelude to Revolution
-Slaveholding founders
-Trying to build a framework that would allow their survival
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Origins of African American Cultures
-As the native born people of African descent and those with partial white ancestry
the origins of African American cultures became established and more cultured
-African languages
-Stopped speaking ancestral languages
-Ethnic identities
-Stopped referring to themselves as groups from Africa
-West African heritage
-Family structure, religious practices, modes of expression, musical style and
instruments, cooking styles and food, folk arts, etc
Religions
-Many masters initially refused baptism
-Initially if you were a Christian you couldn’t be enslaved
-African religions and Islam persisted in parts of America
-Kept a pre-modern focus on the natural and supernatural and the
living and the dead
-African religions
-Circle dances ring shout at funerals
-Funeral practices decorated with shells and pottery in the West African
manner
-Magic
-Herb doctors and root workers
-How did they practice their religions?
-Continued to shape their lives
-West African ideas remained relevant
-Looked to new immigrants for guidance
African America Impact on Colonial Cultures
-Slaves shaped white colonists’ lives
-New American music
-Preforming English ballads in a distinct African American style for white
audiences
-Celebrations
-Northern and Chesapeake slave had black election or coronation days
-Negro election day or crown virtual leaders
-Language
-Particularly the way Southern speak see AA/slave influence
-Spirituality
-Spiritual realm and remedies
-Gap between English folk lore and West African beliefs wasn’t that large
-Foods
-Slave cooks influence both white southern cooking and AA eating habits
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Document Summary

They were expected to work by their masters. Work for the benefit of another person and not their own. Might work with a merchant or shop keeper, artisan, be a sailor. Increasingly important role in industry in the north. Mining of coal, iron and worked in refineries to refine iron. Would work 5 days a week instead of 6 or 7 and if you worked the weekend you would be paid. Could result in their workers being sick, break tools or equipment and sloppy work would eventually cost them money. Deep system to set work limits that gave slaves some free time. 17th century petitioned the courts to discipline their unruly slaves via the legal system. 18th century slaveholders assumed absolute sovereignty over their plantation masters authority was rarely questioned and the law rarely got involved. African slaves had no court of last resort to defend them. Limits to the amount of work a slave could actually do.

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