The Slave Community

Topics: Slavery in the United States, Atlantic slave trade, Caribbean Pages: 9 (2791 words) Published: February 16, 2012
Chelsea Griffin
The Slave Community: Plantation Life In The Antebellum South By: John W. Blassingame
African American History – HIST 3881
Dr. Arwin Smallwood
The University of Memphis

The slave community during the early centuries of North America brought forth the process of capturing, preservation of culture, and the element of survival. Slaves were traded and sold by their own people. Native born Africans and their American born descendants “africanized” the south, and strong willed, rebellious slaves and free blacks decided to not stand for their forced institution by breaking away from their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual restraints. The “peculiar”institution [1] of southern slavery became the most trivial and horrifying case of human enslavement in the history of the world. The Process of Enslavement and The Middle Passage.

The institution of slavery began in Africa. The people of the Ibo, Ewe, Biafada, Bakongo, Wolof, Bambara, Ibibio, Serer, and Arada were most of the Africans sold into the system. These were peaceful, and sometimes helpless tribes that were accustomed to hard labor, and some accustomed to no labor at all. Advanced Africans like the people of the Yoruba, Dahomey, Ashanti, Fulani, Kom, Mandingo, and Hausa tribes were the ones responsible for their enslavement. With their social and political hierarchy, and through cultural differences, the latter were able to easily put the former under the bridge through war because of their access to goods and items that the others did not have. Europeans turned to Africans because of their intimidation by and unreliability of the Native Americans of North America. In the beginning, Native Americans outnumbered the Europeans but they were still able to break the natives down and use them as slaves. They reduced the highest ranking Native Americans, fishermen, hunters etc., to nothing more than peasants. The Native Americans succumbed to European disease, and were taken aback by the Europeans way of living. They proved to not be effective as workers and servants. With so many problems, the Europeans turned to Africa for labor. The Europeans were not able to enslave some Africans because of their advancements in government, military, and society just like some of the Native Americans, but the Africans that were considered docile were the ones betrayed by their people, and sent on the voyage of the Middle Passage. Ten million [2] Africans were brought along this journey. The Middle Passage consisted of taking Africans that were slaves, criminals, or prisoners, along a journey across the Atlantic ocean that lasted anywhere from three weeks to three months. Before this journey however, Africans were forced marched to the coast where they suffered thirst, hunger, and exhaustion. Many of whom died or became useless before they reached the destination. Many also revolted by running away, refusing to leave their home, and by even killing the Europeans who were taking them away. Once at the shore, those who made it were examined by doctors, and those who were deemed useful were then branded and taken aboard. The now enslaved Africans were chained, and packed tightly together in the hold of the ships that would take them to their new world. Once the voyage started, the slaves were let out of the hold twice a day for food and exercise although women and children were allowed more time on deck. The men, on the other hand, were reduced to being trapped in filth and heat. They remained chained up in their own bodily fluids and in turn, this caused sickness and more deaths aboard the ship. The first weeks of the voyage remained the worst for such new experiences and degrading acts caused some of the slaves to not hold their will to live anymore. Many jumped overboard, many were driven insane, and many refused to eat, drink, and receive aid altogether. The same revolts that occurred while on the mainland of Africa, occurred on the ships as many slaves...
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