February 19, 2013
Ethnic Studies 3130
Professor Barbara Paige
Slavery in America has always been a touchy subject, especially when it comes to the truths about the effects of slavery on the slaves themselves. The accounts by slaves are few and far between, and the accounts that are available often tell one side of the story about slavery. This is why I decided to take the Slavery in America course. I hoped to find out more information about the truth of slavery in American history, and I wanted to possible get an insight into what my great, great grandmother had to deal with as a slave in Virginia. With that said, I came into this course with my own personal perceptions of slavery in America, and also about the beginnings of the European slave trade itself. In this critical essay, I will take a look at my pre-existing views and compare them with what I have learned over the first four weeks of class. One of the first personal views that I had about slavery was that there were never any amicable proceedings between slaves and their masters. I believed that the aspect of “slavery” started with the Europeans capturing and selling Africans. After watching “The Terrible Transformation”, I came to learn that slavery didn’t just come out of nowhere specifically in the capture of Africans for economic reasons. Previous to the African exploitation, there was a caste system in Europe. The aspect of slavery was founded in servitude in the European culture, as it was built mostly based on class. There was the rich king and queens, and then there were there servants. But, the servitude of the Europeans was not that of American slavery. The serfs were treated well. They were punished for subordination, of course, but they were paid, fed, and cloth, and sometimes treated like family. The second personal view that I had was that there were only black slaves in American slavery. This was proven wrong in an important video...
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