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Lecture 7

Lecture 7 - February 12.docx

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Dana Weiner

HI330 Lecture – Urban Slavery and Revolutionary Stirrings February 12, 2013 Urban Slavery -What sets it apart? -How did city life affect slavery? -Did their circumstances people served in shape their experience as slaves? -How do we define [gradations of] freedom? -Impact of cities -Southern cities -Type of work would be different – not plantation slavery -More/larger chance to literature -Housing -Location and style of housing -Practice of hiring out -Degree of mobility you would have -Methods of punishment would differ for urban slaves Conditions for Urban Slaves -Less than 6% of the entire slave population -Slaves generally had more favourable labour conditions -Douglass – “city slave is almost a free man compared with the slave on the plantation” -“He is much better fed and clothed and enjoys” better treatment that is almost unknown for the plantation slaves -Scholars argue the fact that in the city people lived close to one another served to deter slave holders for brutally abusing their human property (verses how would those at different plantations know about the abuse – wasn’t as easy to get a label as being a brutal leader) -1763 – ¼ of the black population of Louisiana resided on small pieces of land around New Orleans Work for Urban Slaves -What sorts of work did slaves do in southern cities? -Workers who are working for money but they are still without legal rights -Still legally property and still subject to physical punishment -Do not get to keep most of their money -Thought it was less arduous physical labour -Doing work in ship years, brick yards, cotton presses, warehouses -Apprentices -Small amounts of industry -Richmond, VA – iron works – 1880s almost entirely run by slave labour -Hiring out -Slave owners rented their slaves to others -Also hire themselves out with the help of their owners -“leased property” couldn’t be punished or hurt – hired their labour and did not own them -Money earned from slaves went to the owner but got a small amount -Could save it up and but their freedom -Route to independence -Slavery and urban life are compatible -Northern accusations -Accused southern owners of hiring out to escape the obligations the owners had to their slaves – certain amenities -Did free owners of some of the traditional responsibilities of slave owning The Slave Quarter -Difficult task to figure out how to house them -At times masters and slaves would share plots or houses -Slaveholders were much better typically in cities than plantations -Many housed in the same lodging as their owners in a small back room or attic -When houses were too small to accommodate all the workers and if the owner was wealthy enough, the owner may built a separate house for the more senior slaves nearby -Discouraged large scale slave holding – how many did you need and where would you put them -Main residence would face on the street and slave quarters behind, long narrow and 2 stories high -Usually joined the main house or at the other side of the lot -Most likely on the same lot as the master -2 floor – dormitories, 1 floor the kitchen and other work rooms for slaves -Well-built Luxury? – Slave Quarters, Bellamy Mansion -Wilmington, NC -Comfortable brick building? -One of the most comfortable arrangements that slaves would have encountered -Laundry room and servants chambers -Why unusual? -Removable blinds – shade for the occupants -First floor -Would generate smells and heat uncomfortable for the sleeping quarters -Second floor -Dorms Living Out, Around Town -Many masters found it easier for housing if slaves found housing for themselves -Slaves started to live out -> more freedom of movement, could live with a roommate you liked or with family members -Feared it would give slaves excessive autonomy -City fears – laws regulating living out – had to been on slave property -Housing scarcity -Sheds, basements, attics, occasional single room -Slaves sleeping in various locations around the southern cities -Numerous variations in housing -All sorts of conditions in all different buildings in all places of town -Not a very regulated phenomenon Living Out’s Dark Side -Construction housing -‘miserable shanties’ -Living conditions just at bad as those on plantations -Spartan facilities -rooms often 10 ft. by 15 ft -Usually without ventilation and windows -Single door -Furniture would have been scarce – many didn’t own beds -Not luxurious -Overcrowding was a constant problem Walls and Badges -Mechanisms to try and enforce slaver in urban areas -2 most overt forms -Walls and slaves’ activities -Slaves evasion -Slave holders tried to restrict
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