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Lecture 6

Lecture 6 - February 5 .docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Dana Weiner

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 -17 century – petitioned the courts to discipline their unruly slaves via the legal system -18 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 -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 th effectively (19 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 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 Southern Slaves’ Lives -They were poor and didn’t leave many records or possessions behind -18 century  regional and temporary houses for slaves -Chesapeake, log cabins -Dirt floors, brick fire places, wind chimneys and few/no windows -SC and GA -African styles -Tabby – lime, oyster shells, mud -Thatched roofs -First used a dormitory’s and later would house generations of black families -Furniture and utensils -Employed blacks as builders -High pitched roofs, balcony, wooden sculptures -Neither lived in isolation from the other – especially in cities th -Over 18 century – more substantial -But still had poorly constructed and poorly build log cabins Family Life under Slavery -Important in terms of power relations under slavery ***WHAT ROLE DID THE FAMILY PLAY IN HELPING SLAVES RESIST/SURVIVE -Slaveholders=absolute power? -Relationships -Masters and slaves -Between slaves -Slaves defined their own relationships with each other -Slave communities insulated slaves – influence themselves against slavery’s worst effects -Independent lives and sense of themselves – social hierarchies, social structures, religious practices, etc -Own ideas of morality Slave Families -Ba
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