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CHAPTER 20 African Americans at Mid-Century. North (Free) vs. South (Slave)  Slaves’ legal status was the same as property. Slaves did not have the same.

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Presentation on theme: "CHAPTER 20 African Americans at Mid-Century. North (Free) vs. South (Slave)  Slaves’ legal status was the same as property. Slaves did not have the same."— Presentation transcript:

1 CHAPTER 20 African Americans at Mid-Century

2 North (Free) vs. South (Slave)  Slaves’ legal status was the same as property. Slaves did not have the same rights as free people and could be bought and sold.  Rural slaves worked on farms and plantations in the South. Urban Slaves lived in cities and were hired out to factories, mills and workshops. Their wages were given to their owners.  Half of all free African Americans lived in the South. Free African Americans in the South were not allowed to work in certain jobs. Most worked as laborers, craftspeople, or household servants.  Free African Americans in the North held low paying jobs, were not allowed to vote, were denied entry in public schools and faced discrimination by whites. Despite discrimination, some formed churches, schools, and other organizations.

3 II. Economics of Slavery A. Cotton 1. Cotton Gin a) Made cotton a cash crop b) 1790 – 3,000 bales 1850 – 4 million bales 2. Supply & Demand a) Price of cotton increased – slaves more valuable to owners

4 Working & Living Conditions of Slaves  Slaves worked on farms of various sizes. ¾ of all slaves were field hands. Others worked as seamstresses, carpenters, blacksmiths, cooks or servants. Work started at six years of age.  Slaves lived in crowded cabins and were provided enough to stay healthy for work.  Slaves were given clothing allowances for a year. These clothes were poor quality and when they wore out they had to go naked until the next allowance was given.  Slaves were poorly clothed and housed compared to white southerners, but were more likely to receive medical attention.


6 V. Controlling Slaves A. Punishment 1. beating, whipping, branding a) Punishment often kept them from being able to work right away b) Caused greater rebellion B. Slave Breakers 1. Used when slaves did not learn lesson a) fear, violence and overwork


8 VI. Resistance to Slavery A. Day-to-Day Resistance 1. Quiet acts – pulled down fences, broke tools, damaged crops, snuck food 2. Avoidance – pretending to be sick, insane, blind 3. Deadly – fires, poison B. Open Defiance 1. Pushed too hard – refusal to work, rejected orders, violence

9 VI. Resistance to Slavery C. Running Away 1. Risks a) slave-catchers: mauled by dogs, whipped 2. Methods a) Walked by night, hid by day b) Boats, trains with fake IDs c) Mailed in boxes, coffins 3. Underground Railroad a) Members provided transportation and safe houses b) “conductors” risked lives helping slaves travel the “freedom train” - Harriet Tubman

10 VI. Resistance to Slavery D. Rebellion 1. Denmark Vesey Charleston, SC a) Authorities learned of plan to lead revolt b) Vesey and 30 slaves arrested and hanged 2. Nat Turner Virginia a) Turner and followers armed with axes and guns set to kill every white person they could find b) 2 days later – 57 people had been hacked to death

11 VII. Slave Families & Communities A. Legal Issues 1. Slave marriages not recognized therefore slave families did not exist a) Created own weddings – tradition of jumping the broomstick 2. Control of children rested with master B. Lessons for Children 1. Silence around whites 2. Obedience 3. Respect themselves and members of slave community

12 VIII. Leisure Time Activities A. Quilting Bee 1. Created much needed bedding for family B. Quilting Feast & Dance 1. After sewing was done 2. Homemade instruments C. Sundays 1. Religion 2. Recreation – eating, hunting, fishing, dancing, singing, gambling

13 IX. Slave Churches A. Slaveholder’s Church 1. Slaves encouraged to attend 2. Masters read Bible to workers a) Preached obedience to both heavenly and earthly masters B. Invisible Church 1. Met in slave quarters 2. Told stories of Moses leading people out of slavery 3. Sang spirituals expressing desire for freedom

14 X. African American Culture A. Songs & Spirituals 1. Rhythms and harmonies of Africa but speak realities of slavery B. Slave Dances 1. Escaped cares, expressed feelings, refreshed spirits C. African Legends & Folktales 1. Br’er Rabbit – rabbit always outwits the larger animal (symbolic of slave-master relationship?)

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