Southern Slavery Lecture (Test 3)
Southern Slavery Lecture (Test 3) HY 103
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This 11 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kaylin Wallen on Tuesday April 26, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HY 103 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Dr. Brasher in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 18 views. For similar materials see American Civilization to 1865 in History at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.
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Date Created: 04/26/16
Southern Slavery; who had the Power? Northerners began to examine what it would be like to be a slave Slaves were extremely powerful and resilient people who exerted power back on their masters I. Slaves as Controlled 1. Slave Masters Only 25% of white Southerners owned slaves So, some people thought that it wasn’t that important to white economy/society How the numbers are deceptive: - In a family of 4, all 4 members are benefitting from the slave, but only the father owns the slave - Then (and now) to run for public office you have to have a lot of $$ 99.99% of upper middle class wealthy southerners had slaves = The leadership of the South was overwhelmingly slave masters who led the south in a way that protected their interests Who are they? - Paternal Master that sees their relationship with slaves just like father to children –reciprocal obligations (obligations to children- food, clothing, shelter & children owe father obedience) - 2. The Work - Skilled Labor Plantations had to be self-sufficient (coopers, blacksmiths, cooks, carpenters, etc.) Skilled slaves cost a lot of money so they were generally well taken care of (better clothing, housing, food) Tend to be even more disgruntled than house servants because they could be making good money if they weren’t a slave (even more than some whites) - Hired Out Masters have more slaves than they actually need for work or that they can care for so they “rent” them to people who need extra hands Advantages: - Travel and experience (most slaves never left a mile from home) -‐ Treated better because if sick/wounded/dead while being rented, the man who rented them had to pay the value of the slave = Take care of them so they won’t die Tend to be the most disgruntled of all the slaves because they are seeing the opportunities of the world that they can’t have Divisions: Different types of slaves start having animosity towards each other Master knows this and plays into it—tries to prove slaves don’t like each other so they will remain divided & not working together House servants tend to be light skinned & field hands tend to be dark skinned = Slaves begin to think differently/down upon other colors Master manipulating/controlling the slaves 3. Whippings How often? Most slaves went their entire lives without ever being whipped (Some masters did beat all the time, but the majority tried to avoid it) But, the vast majority had seen it happen at least once The most important thing for master to control slaves = fear Why avoid? Slaves were a piece of very expensive property that masters spent a lot of money on for a specific function Plus, if you beat a slave it reduces the property value (means they are disobedient and unhealthy) How was it done? Workday comes to a halt—everyone gathers to watch Removes shirt, face down in dirt, stake arms to the ground or whipping post The overseer take a leather whip…39 lashes Bloody, splattered on other slaves—physically and emotionally wounded Then, took rock salt and put it into open wounds (slave usually passes out) Psychological impact Master trying to scare all the other slaves—psychological terrorism—in order to control them 4. Separation of families The thing they feared the most (more than whipping) How often? 1/3 slave marriages broken up Masters encouraged marriage (babies=more slaves, & roots them so they won’t run away) Routinely sells one away from the other ½ of children sold away from their parents Why? -‐ Masters frequently had more than they needed or could take care of -‐ Master needs $$ -‐ Personal reasons Psychological Impact No warning that master is going to sell you Worse than if they were dead #1 threat of master: I’ll sell you, your kids, your wife… etc. 5. Slave Auctions All southern towns had a slave auction How was it done? Slave stood on auction block People examined him & looked for: -‐ Whip marks -‐ Strength -‐ Can he jump on 2 feet? (Hit in heel if escaped) -‐ Strong teeth Worse for women: -‐ Take off clothes -‐ Examine how many slaves they think they can get from her Psychological Impact Masters make sure all slaves see an auction in their life at least once 6. Rape Slave women frequently raped by masters How do we know? Testimonies of former slaves Physical evidence—light skin slaves White southern women write about it in diaries/letters The victims Ultimate in having body/control taken away from you #1 Victims: women that got raped Another victim: Slave’s husband Psychological Impact One of the biggest threats made by masters: I’ll rape your wife Sexual gratification and control 7. Slave Codes One of the biggest things that gave masters control over slaves—laws -‐ Can’t be off plantation -‐ Can’t meet in groups of 10 or more etc. Controls their movement 8. Slave Patrols What? All non-‐slave holding white men riding around at night looking for slaves breaking codes (civic duty) Hated it, so if you were caught they beat the hell out of you (you aren’t their property & they are pissed that the have to be there) Psychological Impact Masters make sure slaves know about patrol and make slave patrols seem evil/supernatural force 9. The Point Masters controlled their slaves by psychologically terrorizing them with fear, and that is what made slavery the crime that it was II. Slaves as Powerful 1. Rebellions Most dominate way Slaves plan revolt, kill master and encourage others to do the same Destroy slavery by destroying masters Not a good idea because the South is ready for this (always afraid of a rebellion)—Southern militia responds quickly Occur frequently, but the rumors occur more = Continues to be #1 fear of slave holders because he knows they won’t be successful, but he doesn’t want to die Can manipulate that fear to have control of master 2. Day to Day Slaves play tricks on masters -‐ Missing/broken things -‐ Burning barns -‐ Food gets family sick -‐ Clocks stop working -‐ Pull chair away from under them = Control/Manipulation If they work together they can control the workload 3. Labor Negotiations Every day slaves enter into unspoken negotiations about how much work they are willing to do Can slow things down on the plantation (playing tricks, etc.) = less crops at the end of the growing season Master knows slaves do that, but also that means they are working together & that is his biggest fear st 1 step in rebellion (But, can’t do too much cause they will get sold) 4. Running Out (Not Running Away) Every night slaves will go off the plantation to meet with slaves from other plantations Masters want them sleeping, when they are doing their own thing they are in control Anything they can do to have a little control is important 5. Avoiding Patrols How do they avoid getting caught? Law says they can’t leave without a pass (not very complicated documents cause they don’t think slaves can read/write = they can’t fake them) But, every plantation has 1 or 2 that figured out how to do it Make a living trading things for fake passes Baiting the patrol Lined up from meeting place to road Hears patrol, yells they are coming, everyone leaves, bait slave waits until patrol is close & runs the opposite way of the meeting Trap is set to trip up patrol, & all the slaves have made it back home 6. Religion #1 thing doing when running out—having religious services Masters teach slaves New Testament -‐ If faithful to master, God will reward you in heaven When meeting: Christian faith infused with African Culture—heavily rooted in Old Testament -‐ Moses (Jewish being held in bondage in Egypt, faithful to God & he sent them Moses who delivered them and led them to the holy land) -‐ If we are faithful to God, one day he will deliver us Old Testament—God of wrath, punishes sin = One day God will punish their sinful masters Their religion is the biggest thing that gives them hope—one day they will be free and master punished Why despite everything, they don’t commit suicide Masters don’t want that = Control 7. Folktales How do you teach that we can control our masters? Folktales Usually a physically dominant animal against a weaker one & the weaker animal always win by working as a team and out smarting the other Paint Master as unintelligent Just because he has all the power doesn’t mean he is smart Meant to instill self-‐esteem in slaves Master doesn’t want that = Control 8. The “Grapevine” Slaves well informed about what’s going on outside of the plantation (master wonders why but they don’t know how frequently they meet with other slaves) Information travels through the “Grapevine” -‐ Gossip -‐ Things that could be useful in controlling masters Where do they get the information? They try to get near their masters to hear his conversations & spread it through the grapevine (follow to taverns, house servants, etc.) Masters don’t want that = Control By the 1850s the #1 topic of conversation on the grapevine was abolitionism 9. Abolitionism Whom? White & Black Northerners who are seeking the ratification of slavery The Old Message: Masters weren’t bad, just trapped in the institution of slavery Masters should be compensated for their slaves Embraced gradually emancipating slaves Embraced colonization as a solution Free the slaves and colonize them somewhere else— whites and blacks shouldn’t and couldn’t live as equals in this country—it will either cause a race war or they will get along and make children (they believe they are something less than human and will taint the white blood) The New Message: Masters are bad people/sinners If masters lose money because of the ratification of slavery, then so be it Immediate emancipation Reject colonization because it is based on racist ideas & a large % of abolitionists didn’t want to leave the country, they wanted to fix what was wrong with it Changed the nature of anti-‐slavery William Lloyd Garrison: The Liberator (newspaper) st 1 thing that helped spread the new message How do they expect to accomplish this? Activities: Moral suasion Assumption that people are good so they need to convince people that slavery is wrong How? Outwardly: Published literature (memories of slaves, pamphlets, tracks) Sent out speakers in the North Garrison Fredrick Douglas Speak from slaves perspective Petition drives Door to door asking people to sign a petition to the government Government didn’t want to look at it but they sent a new one every day *Door to door= face to face contact Covertly: The Underground Railroad System of safe houses in the Northern states Harriet Tubman (most famous conductor) Escaped from slavery & went back repeatedly to help other slaves (300 slaves) How slaves knew about it: *Heard it from the masters (always complaining about abolitionism) Sailors on Northern vessels, sailing to the South were telling slaves about the abolitionist movement Slaves got a hold of some of the literature Hope! The way abolition becomes the #1 topic on the grapevine “Moses may be about to come” (high hope in 1850s) Masters don’t want hope = Control III. Conclusions Masters controlled their slaves by psychologically terrorizing them with fear But, slaves had the ability to control their environment and give themselves self-‐esteem & hope and control their masters
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