New England and the Mid-Atlantic 3,000 slaves in Rhode Island by 1750 15% of the New York and Philadelphia populations Urban, domestic, shop and dock work; gradual shift to the fields. Worked mixed with white field servants and apprenticeships. Family formation very difficult; fertility very low. Disease rampant. More contact with Africa. Election and Pinkster Days.
Upper South Healthier; more fertile. Blacks a minority. No gradations of color or status: one drop of black blood made you black, and all blacks were the same. Good relations with Native Americans. Less contact with Africa; spoke English. Extensive interaction between owner and slave. Less violent. More variety in employment. One-Parent Families and Extended Kin
Lower South Heavily African in character; spoke creole; wore beards and jewelry. More “down” time to hunt, fish and tend to plots; but the working time was more demanding. Gradations of color. Tense relations with Native Americans. Little interaction between master and slave. Two-Parent Families. Greater sense of pride in the face of white society.
Classroom Exercise If you were a slave, and could choose between the Upper South and Lower South, which would you choose?
Question #2 Are there other kinds of regional variation we should consider?
Classroom Exercise In comparing the different slave regions, we have noted that some areas recognized differing gradations of color and others did not. How might we explain that difference?
Question #3 In comparing the different slave regions, we have noted that some areas recognized differing gradations of color and others did not. How might we explain that difference?
The Particular Nature of British Colonization The recreation of England Less experience with multiculturalism A familial endeavor Guilt
A Problem to Be Solved Rather Than a People to be Included “Racial slavery became an intrinsic and indispensable part of New World settlement, not an accident or an unfortunate shortcoming on the margins of the American experience. From the very beginnings, America was part black, and indebted to the appalling sacrifices of millions of individual blacks who cleared the forests and tilled the soil. Yet even the ardent opponents of slaveholding could seldom if ever acknowledge this basic fact. To balance the soaring aspirations…slavery became the dark underside of the American dream—the great exception to our pretensions of perfection, the single barrier blocking our way to the millennium, the single manifestation of national sin. The tragic result of this formulation was to identify the so-called Negro…as the GREAT AMERICAN PROBLEM. The road would be clearer, everything would be perfect, if it were not for his or her presence….For some two hundred years, African Americans have struggled against accepting or above all internalizing this prescribed identity, this psychological curse.” ~David Brion Davis
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