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Slave Narratives Free Essay Sample

Slavery in the United States of America began in 1619. Most slaves were imported from the African continent into America. Almost six hundred slaves were brought into America in 1619.

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The African slaves were brought to help in the production of lucrative crops such as tobacco, rice, sugar and cotton in Virginia, Jamestown in the North American Colony. The African slaves contributed immensely to the building and development of the American economic foundation in the 18th centuries. For instance, African slaves played a significant role in the development of the South economy, especially after the cotton gin invention in 1793.

The white Americans owned the slaves. In the process a chattel slavery system was formed which owned a human being and all their descendants. Siblings to slaves mothers automatically also became slaves. Freedom was only attained by running away or disowning by the owner.

Towards the mid of the 19th century, struggles to end slavery in America by the African American union in North America resulted to the American Civil War in 1861-65. Nevertheless, the civil war lead to the liberation of four million slaves and marked the beginning of the freedom process of the African slaves in the history of America. By the 1960, the civil right movement union was constructed to fight for the right of the African American slaves (Hine, Hine and Harrold 2011).

Slavery Narratives

State Indiana: John W. Fields, Account of Slavery Aged 89

Despite the desire to learn and study, John says that during the slavery era, education was illegal for the black man. The white men were forbidden by the law to educate a black man even in private. Any breach of law was punishable by prosecution, which entailed a jail term or a fifty dollars fine.

Consequently, slaves were kept in the great ignorance. They were forbidden to visit town or market. John says that after running away, he discovered that the only items sold in the market were whiskey, slaves and tobacco. Any slave who was caught after running away was subjected to harsh punishment. According to John, the worst slavery subjected on the black man was ignorance (Andrew 2004).

State Virginia: Walter Calloway

Calloway became a slave victim at the age of ten when his parents were purchased as slaves by John Calloway. He was exposed to child labor abuse at an early age. He was expected to work as the others regardless of his age. The slave owner made all kinds of demands from his slaves including sex privileges. Whipping was common and the white man administered the beatings using a black hand. Walter Calloway once witnessed how a thirteen year old girl almost died after being whipped by his master.

In addition, black children were denied education and instead taken to school to take care of white children while studying. Although, the Civil War led to freedom of slaves, many of them were left poor, rooming around the city with no sense of direction.

In the Virginia, some slaves were indentured servants who had to work in order to repay their debts or else they had to work for the slave masters to obtain shelter and food (Calloway 1996).

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Similarities

In both narratives, both slaves were subjected to harsh punishment. Slave owners considered slaves as a chattel. Slaves did not have any right at all. They could be bought, sold, loaned, punished, used as collateral only at owners will. They did not have any right to marry, vote, own property; serve on juries or as witness in signing contract deals. Descendants of slaves were subject to the same slave conditions as their parents were subjected to.

All black were considered inferior to whites.

Whipping was done regardless of age as long as offence was committed. Punishment was administered by a black overseer under the direction of the white masters. Although, physical basic needs such as food, water and shelter were provided, however, in both circumstances the black men in Indiana and Virginia were denied education privileges. It was illegal to educate a black man and any white man found educating his slaves in secret was fined or jailed.

In both Indiana and Virginia, slave owners raped slave women. If their men protested or tried to reprove their owners, they were mercilessly flogged and sometimes some parts of their bodies were removed. Slave women killed their own babies with knives to save them from the agony of slavery which they would experience if they were left to live. Slaves in both Indiana and Virginia states tried to fight against their slave owners using witchcraft and in some cases; they attacked them physically in order to murder them. Refusal to eat was another tact slaves used against their owners. However, food was forced down their throats by breaking of teeth or shoveling molten hot lead on their heads to force them to eat food. On the other hand, slave owners had a habit of stealing slaves from one another. Iron branding of stolen slaves on chests or arms was a common thing after theft.

Differences

The only difference between slavery in Indiana and Virginia is locality of the slaves.

Conclusion

In conclusion, slaves were in demand both in the North and South cities before 1800. The African slaves contributed immensely to the building and development of the American economic foundation in the 18th centuries. Their contribution to the development was significant in the Northern economy, especially cotton gin invention in 1793. Many slaves who lived during 1860 and who worked in large plantations were owned by the white overseers. Most of the slaves worked in plantations and in the production or the growth of lucrative crops such as rice, tobacco, sugar and cotton. These plantations were owned by paid white overseers. They used the gang – work system resulting to a population of two thirds of the slaves working in cotton plantations.

In both narratives, all blacks were considered inferior to whites and were subjected to hard work and harsh punishment. Slave owners considered slaves as a chattel. Moreover, slaves did not have any right at all. They could be bought, sold, loaned, punished, used as collateral only at owners will. They did not have any right to marry, vote, own property; serve on juries or as witness in signing contract deals. Descendants of slaves were subject to the same slave conditions as their parents were subjected to. Women slaves were sexually abused by their slave owners and any reprove from their partners resulted extreme flogging. Children of slaves were subjected to hard labor regardless of their tender age.

On the other hand, sometimes slaves protested by using witchcraft, murdering their masters, suicide and infanticide and sometimes even by refusal to eat the food. Subsequently, slave owners stole slaves from one another and iron branded immediately.

Finally, towards the mid of the 19th century, struggles to end slavery in America by the African American union in North America resulted to the American Civil War in 1861-65. Nevertheless, the Civil War lead to the liberation of four million slaves and marked the beginning of the freedom process of the African slaves in the history of America. By the 1960, the civil right movement union was constructed to fight for the right of the African American slaves.

Code: Sample20

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