Slavery and Resistance in America. Another look at the period of slavery? What can it do for us?. Questions to Consider. How did African-Americans provide for themselves? How did they get along with each other? How did they find meaning in their lives?. Awesome Web Resources.
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Another look at the period of slavery?
What can it do for us?
Community Resources for Rebellion?
Everyday Resistance, Wisdom, Trust, Concessions, Organization, Collective Intelligence, National Political Knowledge, Literacy, Rumor…
- Most lived in two-parent “households” (John Blassingame ’70)
- Children often “deprived of childhood” – started work early and subject to treatment as adults (Wilma King ’95)
- “Culture of Resistance” – sense of identity apart from roles imposed by masters
- Some personal value based on work activities
- Family relations were critical to sense of self and personal strength (Jacqueline Jones and Deborah Gray White ’85)
Domestic Life (within Slave Quarters)
- “Matrifocal” not “Matriarchal” family structure
- Male / Female roles were mostly complimentary
- Adaptation of African practices with European customs – for example:
Christian beliefs and African religions, naming practices, burial rituals, marriage ceremonies (“jumping the broomstick”) – all show Assimilation (or Syncretism)
- Male / Female work roles were mostly defined (Jones & White ’85)
Marriage and Kinship ties
- Many norms for marriage and kin were transferable to lives of freedom
- Women working in domestic setting – child rearing, laundry, sewing, and field work considered key to survival
- Men provided supplement to diet for families by hunting and fishing
- Men protected children and women from punishment when possible
- “Sanctity of Marriage” recognized despite laws or master’s rules
- Strong affectionate ties (Eugene Genovese ’74)
- Extended Kin – Uncles, Aunts, and Cousins were important part of identity (Herbert Gutman ’77)
- Jean Baptiste Point du Sable (1790) – African-French created first building in place now known as Chicago
- Henry Blair (1835) –of MD, received patent for invention of corn harvesters
- Benjamin Montgomery (1858) – w/ Jefferson Davis of SC, invented boat propeller (both men lost patent rights)
- Celia of Cumberland County MO – story
a. Recreation and Relaxation
- singing, dancing, telling stories, playing games, strumming of banjo, drinking, etc.
b. Religious Activities
- Mixed Churches common – with segregated seating
- Methodist and Baptist camp meetings – often with socializing between Blacks and Whites
- Black Churches w/ Black Preachers not uncommon
c. Schooling / Education
- Northern settings first – MD, DE, MA
- Also Black Schools in GA, SC, KY, VA, TN – mostly under white control of curriculum and lessons
- Plenty of “Informal” Education – strong desire to gain literacy
- Self- Injury
Revolting (JHF reading)
- Contaminating Food w/ Urine, Poison, Glass
- “Slow-Downs” of Work
- Breaking Tools
- Damaging Crops, Animals, and other Possessions
Separate Lives - Back to points about Community
- Some African-Americans lived and worked in urban settings with some measure of freedom
- “Hamitic” Curse
- Historical “Emasculation” of African-American Men