Presentation on theme: "U.S. History. Slavery existed in Africa prior to the arrival of the Europeans. Europeans exploited this system by trading finished goods such as guns."— Presentation transcript:
Slavery existed in Africa prior to the arrival of the Europeans. Europeans exploited this system by trading finished goods such as guns and rum to African kings in exchange for slaves. In the view of Europeans, these Africans were less than human because of their “race…” this justified the mistreatment and enslavement. These slaves were taken to work on plantations (farms) in the “New World”…aka North and South America.
The Middle Passage refers to the journey from the Western coast of Africa to the Americas. Hundreds of slaves were chained, packed together on a ship known as a slaver. While on board, slaves were beaten and whipped and fell victim to diseases that swept through the ships. The hold, where slaves spent most of their journey, was filled with blood, sweat, excrement, and vomit. Depression and suicide were common as well as a refusal to eat. The journey could last up to 3 months. About 20% of slaves who left Africa died en route to the Americas (up to 2 million people.)
Olaudah Equiano was a slave and experienced the Middle Passage. He eventually purchased his freedom and wrote a detailed account of slavery and Middle Passage. “The closeness of the place, and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship, which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us.” “…the filth of the necessary tubs, into which the children often fell, and were almost suffocated.” “The shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying, rendered the whole a scene of horror almost inconceivable.”
Out of the 12 million Africans enslaved, about 645,000 came to the U.S…by 1860, this number had multiplied to 4 million. Slavery satisfied the need for cheap (free) labor on plantations in the Southern U.S. Crops such as cotton, tobacco, and sugar were very labor-intensive and required a large workforce and were grown in the South.
Not only did the U.S. Constitution not outlaw slavery, but it actually supported in in many ways… Article I, Section 2: The 3/5 clause provided for counting 3/5 of all slaves for purposes of representation in Congress… Article I, Section 9, Paragraph 1: Prohibited Congress from banning the African slave trade before 1808, but did not require Congress to end the trade after that date. Article IV, Section 2, Paragraph 3: The fugitive slave clause prohibited the states from emancipating fugitive slaves and required that runaways be returned to their owners “on demand.”
The same cruelty that existed during the Middle Passage existed on plantations. Roughly 80% worked in the field and the other 10-20% were domestic, or house, slaves. Most slaves performed hard, physical labor and developed very few skills. House slaves would perform household tasks.
A work day consisted of 15-16 hours a day, during harvest time and, could go on during harvest and milling for 16-18 per week 7 days a week. Women who were well- along in their pregnancies, were still sent to work at plowing and hoeing. Children between the ages of six and ten might be active as water carriers. Children between the ages of ten and twelve were organized into gangs and put to weeding.
Violence was used to create fear and keep slaves in line. Whipping Beating Chains/Shackles Metal Collars Rape Hanging