Which Of The Following Was Not A Feature Of Slave Culture

Quiz11 Flashcards

Cuesta College – San Luis Obispo offers HIST 207A, History of the United States. When you think of the Underground Railroad, what is the first name that comes to mind?

  • Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Nat Turner are just a few of the historical figures who have inspired us.

When it came to slave culture in the United States, jumping over a broomstick was connected with which of the following behaviors? White households that held slaves in the Old South comprised about the following percentage of white families: Which of the following did not have a role in the economic impact of slavery on the northern economy?

  • Profits from the cotton trade aided in the growth of industry and internal improvements in the North
  • Northern shipping routes brought southern cotton, and northern manufacturers converted it into textiles. Slave labor in the southern Cotton Belt hampered cotton output in the North, while northern manufacturers gained substantial profits from the creation of the shoes and clothes that were provided to slaves in the South.
  • Cotton output in the North was hampered by slave labor in the Cotton Belt of the southern United States.

During the first part of the nineteenth century, cotton was the “monarch of the crop.” Three-fourths of the world’s cotton supply came from the United States, and textile producers in New England, Great Britain, France, and Russia were reliant on the American cotton supply to meet their production needs. Define the term “textile.”

  • Tiles, which are often formed of ceramic and cotton and are employed in the construction of dwellings, factories, and government structures
  • Tiny book or literature, generally on a topic of wide interest to the reading public
  • Woven fabric
  • A factory powered by a steam engine

What was the name of the southern state with the highest proportion of free black people in relation to its overall African-American population? The answer to this question is not included in the widely recognized version of the 1822 plot led by Denmark Vesey.

  • Gullah Jack was the name of his lieutenant, and Vesey and his followers were responsible for the deaths or maiming of 37 white people. As part of his research, Vesey read the Bible and the Declaration of Independence. Vesey had won the lottery and used the money to purchase his release.
  • Vesey and his supporters were responsible for the deaths or injuries of 37 white people.

It was the following African-American who was the most prominent African-American of the nineteenth century and the nation’s top champion for racial equality:

  • Abraham Lincoln, Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass are just a few examples.

Which of the following characteristics did not characterize slave culture?

  • As a result of their bondage, they developed a version of Christianity that placed a strong emphasis on deliverance symbols such as Jonah, Daniel, and especially Moses
  • They also developed a distinct set of family patterns that were tailored to the challenges of bondage
  • They developed a body folk customs that reflected the cultural traditions of both Africa and America.

Nat Turner: I’d want to thank you for your time.

  • In 1831, he led a slave insurrection in Virginia that resulted in the deaths of around sixty white people
  • He served as second in command during Denmark Vesey’s trial
  • He was a noted male vocalist in an early Negro spiritual choir
  • He was a ship captain who created the hymn “Amazing Grace.”
  • Led a slave insurrection in Virginia in 1831 that resulted in the deaths of around sixty white people.

The number of enslaved people that escaped to the North each year is around how many? According to the Federal Reserve, the highest economic investment in the United States occurred in: According to the Federal Reserve, the highest economic investment in the United States was made in the following:

  • They married their bosses, destroyed tools, and took part in an organized violent revolt
  • They did all of this and more.

Slaves made up a major section of the population of the Old South, including:

  • Field workers, home servants, skilled artisans, and a variety of other occupations

In the years leading up to the American Civil War, the wealthiest Americans were as follows:

  • Mercantile jobbers in New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut
  • Planters in South Carolina and Mississippi
  • Railroad magnates
  • And manufacturers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut

Mercantile jobbers in New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut; planters in South Carolina and Mississippi; railroad magnates; and manufacturers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

  • Slaves who roamed the highways and cities, collecting rubbish to keep the roadsides and urban areas clean
  • Plantation laborers who patrolled farms looking for contraband on which tariffs had not been paid
  • Mixed-race patrols consisting of whites and blacks who worked together to harvest cotton harvests
  • Farmers who kept an eye out for runaway slaves

Which of the following did not constitute a limitation on free blacks in the Old South?

  • They were allowed to possess pets and guns. They were unable to testify in court. They were required to keep their certificate of independence on them at all times. A white person could not be struck, even in self-defense, by a member of the military.

Pet dogs and guns were permitted for them; There was no way for them to provide testimony in court. At all times, they were required to carry a certificate of independence; A white person could not be struck, even in self-defense, by a black person. “Thousands of slaves were employed as talented artisans in southern towns,” says the author. Define the term “artisan.” When it comes to the comparable experiences of slaves and free black people in the Old South, which of the following is not true?

  • Within each tribe, there were social hierarchies to be discovered
  • Free blacks were constitutionally forbidden from exercising their right to vote, carrying guns, or testifying in court, just as slaves were. While the material situations of free blacks continuously improved over the period 1800 to 1860, they steadily deteriorated during the same period for slaves. As was the case with slaves, the majority of free blacks worked as field workers.
  • While the material situations of free blacks continuously improved over the period 1800 to 1860, they steadily deteriorated during the same period for slaves.

Which of the following was not a job that slaves performed? Which of the following was not a prominent feature in the philosophy of the planters?

  • It is in the competitive marketplace that we make our riches, but it is not in the competitive marketplace that we draw our values. The establishment of entrenched social hierarchies has no place in a democratic republic
  • We are the aristocrats of our territory
  • Women, children, slaves, and lower-class whites look to us for leadership and protection
  • We are the protectors of our people. Wealth is intended to be used rather than just reinvested
  • The establishment of entrenched social hierarchies has no place in a democratic republic

Rice plantations in South Carolina and Georgia were mostly staffed by the following individuals:

  • Rice plantation labor in South Carolina and Georgia was mostly performed by the following individuals or organizations:

What happened to the 135 enslaved people who took the ship, the Creole, in 1841 and traveled to Nassau in pursuit of freedom? What happened to them?

  • It was decided that they may return to Africa by the Supreme Court of the United States
  • They were returned to slavery in Virginia
  • They joined the crew of the Amistad
  • And they were granted permission to return to Africa by the Supreme Court of the United States

This statement about plain white folks in the Old South was not true in which of the following ways?

  • They were treated similarly to slaves in terms of civil and political rights. The majority of them had just a tenuous connection to the market revolution
  • While some people remained impoverished, others were able to achieve material comfort and self-sufficiency. The plantation class may have been despised by some, but the majority of people remained supportive of the slavery system.
  • They were treated similarly to slaves in terms of civil and political rights.

John C. Calhoun of South Carolina regarded the following as “the most wrong and hazardous of all political mistakes,” stating that it was “the most false and deadly of all political errors.”

  • A positive good, slavery
  • All men are created equal and entitled to liberty
  • States have the authority to invalidate federal law
  • The vice presidency was established by the founders
  • And many more beliefs.
  • All men are created equal and have the right to pursue their own happiness.

Among the slaves held by one free black man were 100 others.

  • Many of them worked as skilled artisans in urban areas. In order to provide their children with an education, several freed blacks sent their children to France. The majority of free blacks moved through the ranks to become competent, middle-class employees.

The majority of free blacks moved through the ranks to become competent, middle-class employees. Which of the following was not a common form of slave resistance during the time period?

  • Assaults on slaveholders, food theft, disrupting the functioning of the plantation, and escape are all possibilities.

Which of the following was not a condition of slavery?

  • Learning to read and write was illegal for slaves by the 1830s, and teaching them was considered a crime. When it came to South Carolina, slaves were not allowed to carry shotguns. Their master may interfer with their decision on whom to marry
  • But, they are free to choose. Their freedom of choice in how they used their spare time was not unaffected by the meddling of slave masters.
  • When it came to South Carolina, slaves were not allowed to carry shotguns.

Slave Culture and Rebellion

Slave cultures were influenced by restricted laws and harsh treatment, and slaves merged African and Christian traditions to create a culture of survival and resistance.

Learning Objectives

Influenced by oppressive rules and terrible treatment, slaves fused African and Christian practices to create a culture of survival and defiance against their captors.

Key Takeaways

  • It is generally agreed that slave culture in colonial North America was a mash-up of tribal African tradition, Christian worship, and political opposition. Slaves were frequently subjected to cruel and humiliating treatment. A regular occurrence was the use of whips, beatings, lynchings, and rapes. During the enslavement experience, slave culture emphasized the importance of family and collaboration
  • In fact, the establishment of families and communities was the most essential reaction to the pain of enslavement. By virtue of restrictive rules, slaves were frequently barred from reading and writing
  • Nevertheless, they made up for this by relying on oral means of communication like as music and storytelling. When their owners gave them permission, some slaves had private gardens and sold the fruit they produced. It was possible for some people to utilize the earnings from this practice to purchase their release when it was permitted. Due to the lack of a successful slave revolution (although there were several unsuccessful attempts by black slaves to forcibly demand their freedom), American slaves turned to alternative means of resistance.
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Key Terms

  • Anarchy: A social system in which males hold primary power, predominately in positions of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege, and control of property
  • Within the family, fathers or father-figures exercise control over their wives and children
  • Within the community, males exercise control over their wives and children
  • Within the nation


Fathers or father-figures wield influence over women and children in the context of patriarchy, which is a social structure in which males hold primary power, predominantly in positions of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege, and ownership of property.

Treatment of Slaves

Despite the fact that treatment of slaves varied depending on the plantation, it was almost always marked by cruelty. Slaves were frequently subjected to whippings, executions, beatings, and rapes, among other things. Some slaves were treated differently based on their worth or skill sets; for example, artists, medical practitioners, skilled workers, and technical specialists were often given preferential treatment and more freedoms than field hands, while field hands were treated the same as other slaves.

  • When it came to female slaves, sexual exploitation and abuse were widespread in the colonies, where cultural patriarchy considered all women (black and white) as property or chattel.
  • Slavery’s abuses: Slaves were frequently subjected to horrendous treatment by their owners, as seen by the scars on the back of this former slave named Peter.
  • Despite the fact that each state had its own slave code, there were numerous commonalities between them.
  • Some jurisdictions prohibited slaves from possessing guns, consuming alcoholic beverages, or leaving the plantation without the written permission of their master.

Slave Identity, Rooted in African Culture

Slaves made an effort to adjust to their new life by building new communities among themselves, frequently sticking to ancient African practices and healing procedures in order to cope better. Families and collaboration were valued highly in slave society; in fact, the establishment of families and communities was the most effective way of coping with the pain of being enslaved. In part because slaves were forbidden from reading or writing, American slaves developed a rich oral tradition in which they passed along songs, prayers, laments, stories, and other information through music and storytelling.

  • Oral traditions originating in Africa were the major way of preserving slave history, customs, and cultural information, which was compatible with the practices of oral history found in African civilizations throughout history.
  • Songs and enthusiastic public worship were frequently used as a means of channeling and coping with hardships as well as voicing grievances to others in the slave community.
  • Many slaves were well-known for their medical abilities; whites sometimes preferred the expertise of slave midwives or nurses over that of white doctors when seeking medicines or cures for different maladies during the antebellum period.
  • Upon being transported to American plantations, slaves gradually lost their African religious beliefs and were converted to Christian beliefs, which became the norm.
  • In many African American churches today, many of these cultural customs and patterns are still evident in the worship services.
  • These “kitchen gardens” were used to produce enough food for a slave family to last them for a year.
  • Many white plantation owners encouraged the growth of the “kitchen garden economy,” allowing certain slaves to leave the farm on Sundays to sell their crafts.

Some slaves were able to purchase their own freedom through the sale of their kitchen gardens, putting up their profits for years in order to allow themselves and their offspring to be released from slavery.

Slave Culture as Resistance

Many slaves were able to cope with the stress of their circumstances by actively fighting it, whether by disobeying their owners or fleeing from their captors. Runaway slaves developed what were known as “maroon” societies, which were groups of people who were successful in avoiding capture and forming their own independent groupings. The most powerful of these groups resided in Jamaica’s interior, where they exercised dominance over the region and kept the British at bay. Slaves who fled their masters’ estates were frequently fed and housed by slaves on nearby plantations, allowing them to remain undetected by their captors.

It is in this sense that slave communities grew up that spread throughout farms, and slaves developed a culture of collaboration and resistance to repressive white power.

Resistance to Slavery

Slaves opposed persecution in a variety of methods, including rebellions and uprisings, as well as sabotage, fleeing, and destroying plantation property.

Learning Objectives

Distinguish between the numerous types of slave resistance that have taken place in the United States, as well as the reactions to them.

Key Takeaways

  • Despite the fact that American slaves were never successful in overthrowing the system of slavery (as their counterparts in Haiti were), there remained a near-constant undercurrent of resistance to servitude throughout the American colonies during their history. Whites’ false sense of superiority was fueled by the institution of slavery, which also fueled whites’ concerns of slave insurrection
  • White responses to slave revolts, or simply the possibility of slave revolt, resulted in extreme overreactions and additional restrictions on slaves’ activities. One famous revolt occurred in South Carolina in 1739, during which a literate slave called Jemmy led a large group of slaves in an armed insurrection against white colonists, murdering several until militia intervened. Driven by white worries of additional slave uprisings and a series of fires that erupted throughout the city, the New York Conspiracy Trials of 1741 were held in New York City.

Key Terms

  • The Slave Insurrection of 1741 was a rumored scheme by slaves and impoverished whites in the British colony of New York to revolt and destroy the city of New York by a series of fires.


In a variety of methods, African slaves opposed enslavement and the plantation economy of the southern United States, from violent revolt to sabotage to infanticide to suicide to fleeing and the purposeful destruction of plantation property. Although African slaves in the American colonies were never successful in revolting against and overturning the system of slavery, as their counterparts in Haiti were, there remained a near-constant undercurrent of opposition to enslavement throughout the colonies.

The system of slavery instilled in whites a false sense of superiority while simultaneously instilling concerns of a slave uprising.

Slave Resistance and Uprisings

The Stono Rebellion, which took place in South Carolina in September 1739, was one of the most famous uprisings in American history. Slaves led by a well-educated slave named Jemmy waged a bloody uprising against white colonists, murdering numerous people until militia intervened and put an end to the rebellion. After a bloody struggle in which both slaves and militiamen were murdered, the militia was able to put an end to the insurrection, and the surviving slaves were either executed or sent to the West Indies.

Other slaves in South Carolina may have come from a similar background: they were born in Africa and were familiar with white people.

In the aftermath of the Stono Rebellion, South Carolina approved a new slave law in 1740, which was known as An Act for the Better Ordering and Governing of Negroes and Other Slaves in the Province—also known as the Negro Act of 1740—to improve the treatment of black and other slaves in the province.

This edict put further restrictions on slaves’ conduct, banning them from congregating, cultivating their own food, learning to write, or moving freely throughout the country.

The New York Conspiracy Trials of 1741

A large number of various ethnic groups coexisted in eighteenth-century New York City, resulting in tension due to inter-group disputes. Another factor to consider is that one out of every five New Yorkers was a slave, and tensions between slaves and the free people were especially high in the aftermath of the Stono Rebellion. These tensions erupted at a climax in 1741. Thirteen fires broke out in the city that year, one of which completely destroyed the colony’s fortification, Fort George. Always on the lookout for signs of a slave revolt among enslaved New Yorkers, the city’s white residents disseminated stories that the fires were part of a larger rebellion in which blacks would slaughter whites, destroy the city, and seize control of the colony.

  • In search of answers and persuaded that slaves posed the greatest threat, worried British officials interviewed over 200 slaves, accusing them of conspiring against them and their country.
  • 200 persons were apprehended in a short period of time, including a considerable number of members of the city’s slave community.
  • 13 African-American males were publicly burnt at the stake, while the rest of the group (which included four white men) were hung.
  • There is no evidence to suggest that a sophisticated conspiracy, such as the one envisaged by white New Yorkers, ever took place in reality.
  • Finally, the Conspiracy Trials served to consolidate white authority and power over freed and enslaved New Yorkers.

slavery – Slave culture

The system of slavery attempted to strip its victims of their original cultural identities on a regular basis. The expectation was that, having been ripped from their own culturalmilieus, they would give up their heritage and accept at least some aspects of their enslavers’culture. Despite this, research has revealed that there were parts of slave culture that were distinct from those of the master society. Some of them have been understood as a kind of resistance to oppression, while others have been identified as evident survivals of a local culture in a new society, as has been the case with some of these.

As a result, slave culture on big estates was likely considerably different from slave culture on small farms or in urban houses, where slave culture (and especially Creoleslave culture) could scarcely have avoided becoming extremely close to the master culture.

A particularly fertile ground for the development of slave culture appears to have been the field of religion, which served the numerous functions of explanation, prediction, control, and fellowship.

Myalism was the first religious movement in Jamaica to appeal to people of all ethnic backgrounds, Vodou in Haiti was the product of African culture that had been slightly refashioned on that island, and syncretic Afro-Christian religions and rituals appeared almost everywhere in the New World during the colonial period.

  1. There were no clear distinctions between the secular and the sacred, which permeated all objects and activities and saturated them both.
  2. In the New World, black slaves were able to keep elements of their culture alive.
  3. The poisoning of masters and other despised persons was a means of dealing with wrongdoing that was particularly prevalent in Africa.
  4. Items of material culture, such as carpets, mats, baskets, thatched roofs, walking canes, and other similar items, were modeled by examples found in Africa.
  5. As opposed to European master culture, Afro-American music and dance are known to have numerous African origins and to have diverged radically from it in terms of practices.
  6. The powerful call-and-response rhythms of gospel songs and spirituals were derived from the West African style of music.
  7. Stories and songs about the devil were common in Afro-American culture; he was a demon and a trickster who was fearsome, a companion in need, and a source of laughter.
  8. According to one of these beliefs, what the masters referred to as theft was actually something different; hence, stealing from the master was not theft at all but rather a method of channeling his property from one use to another, such as taking his maize and giving it to his pigs.
  9. Yet another facet of slave culture, which was particularly dominant in the Caribbean, was the market for slaves.
  10. If they had any excess, they were given permission by their proprietors to resell it on the open market.

Because of this, slaves acquired an autonomy and individuality that contrasted dramatically with the rigorous supervision of the workgang system, as well as the perceived suffocating rule of slave law.

Slavery and the Making of America . The Slave Experience: Education, Arts, & Culture

During the colonial and Antebellum periods, enslaved blacks pursued the right to express themselves using education, the arts, and craftsmanship against pragmatic, customary, and legal restrictions. From the earliest colonial settlements, folktales and fables circulated within slave communities in the South, reflecting the oral traditions of African societies and incorporating African symbolism and motifs. The rabbit, for example, was borrowed from African stories to represent the “trickster” in tales told by the enslaved. Folktales such as the popular Brer Rabbit adventures not only gave slaves a chance to create alternate realities in which they could experience revenge and other forbidden impulses, but they also imparted practical knowledge and survival and coping strategies to listeners.Folktales were not the only form of cultural expression African slaves brought to America. Archaeological finds dated from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries demonstrate that slaves crafted objects in accordance with African traditions as well. Retention of African traditions were strongest during the early colonial period and in areas of high slave concentration, particularly large plantations in the South. Slaves manufactured drums, banjos, and rattles out of gourds similar to those found in Africa. Enslaved women in South Carolina made baskets using an African coiling method and in Georgia they plaited rugs and mats with African patterns.Like the colorful quilts female slaves sewed for warmth, utilitarian objects such as baskets, rugs, bowls, and pipes were outlets for creative expression that enlivened the sober conditions of slave living quarters. Skilled male slaves brought artistic vision to their crafts as well.Wrought iron gates and grilles, for example, provided a common form in which metal workers would display unique aesthetic sensibilities and sophisticated skill. Runaway advertisements hint at the great number of highly talented black craftsmen and artists, including blacksmiths, woodcutters, pressmen, and musicians of all types. On occasion, material culture could also become a mode of covert communication between slaves. Some scholars believe, for instance, that quilting patterns encoded directions for navigating the Underground Railroad. During their limited leisure hours, particularly on Sundays and holidays, slaves engaged in singing and dancing. Though slaves used a variety of musical instruments, they also engaged in the practice of “patting juba” or the clapping of hands in a highly complex and rhythmic fashion.For slaves, music and dance held both secular and spiritual meaning, and talented black musicians and singers were praised by whites as well as other blacks. Although some slaveholders appreciated African-American music making and others allowed singing and dancing in the slave quarters for practical reasons, from the early colonial period on many whites were leery of the subversive potential of these activities. In 1739 South Carolina went so far as to prohibit the beating of drums for fear that their rhythms would be used to incite rebellions like the one that occurred in Stono earlier that year.Despite such obstacles, slaves crafted a rich musical tradition that had enormous impact on the development of American music. In Northern and Southern American cities, black communities played a type of music from which ragtime later descended. On Southern plantations, the roots of gospel and blues were introduced in work songs and “field hollers” based on the musical forms and rhythms of Africa. Through singing, call and response, and hollering, slaves coordinated their labor, communicated with one another across adjacent fields, bolstered weary spirits, and commented on the oppressiveness of their masters. Meanwhile, another form of the “shout,” influential in the development of jazz, was practiced within the context of praise and prayer. An African-inspired dance, the “ring shout” consisted of dancers singing, clapping, and moving in a circular fashion until reaching a state of spiritual ecstasy. Both the ring shout and spirituals expressed the joy and hope, pain and sorrow of the enslaved. Both also grew from a fusion of European and African culture. However, whereas the shout made Christianized an African mode of dance and song, spirituals were sometimes modified versions of songs circulating in the white, Christian community.
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New England Colonies’ Use of Slavery

Slavery attempted to strip its victims of their original cultural identities on a number of occasions. They were supposed to renounce their own culturalmilieus and acquire at least a portion of the culture of their enslavers after being ripped from it. In spite of this, research has revealed that there were parts of slave culture that were distinct from those of the dominant culture. Aspects of them were definitely survivals from a local culture in the new society, and some of them were regarded as a kind of resistance to tyranny by others.

  1. Because of this, it is likely that slave culture on vast estates was considerably different from slave culture on small farms or in urban houses, where slave culture (and particularly Creoleslave culture) could scarcely have avoided becoming extremely close to the master culture.
  2. A particularly fertile ground for the development of slave culture appears to have been the field of religion, which served many functions such as explanation, prediction, control, and fellowship.
  3. Throughout the New World, syncretic Afro-Christian faiths and rites arose almost everywhere, including Jamaica, where myalism was the first religious movement to appeal to all ethnic groups.
  4. Most slave cults had a supreme entity and a multitude of lesser spirits that were either imported from Africa or acquired from the Amerindians, or that were developed in response to local circumstances.
  5. At least originally, African slaves had the belief that, after death, they would be able to return to their homelands and rejoin their families and friends in their homelands.
  6. slaves were trained in the art of African medicine in the United States It was a uniquely African strategy of dealing with evil to poison one’s lords and other detested persons.
  7. Rugs, mats, baskets, thatched roofs, and walking canes, among other items of material culture, were modeled after those found in Africa.

As opposed to European master culture, Afro-American music and dance are known to have many African roots and to have differed dramatically from it in terms of practices.

It was the West African style that inspired many of the songs and spirituals’ powerful call-and-response rhythms.

Afro-American folklore and songs frequently included the devil, who was portrayed as a monster and a trickster, fearsome, a companion in need, and a source of amusement, among other attributes.

According to one of these beliefs, what the masters referred to as theft was actually something different; hence, stealing from the master was not theft at all but rather a method of channeling his property from one use to another, such as taking his maize and giving it to his pigs.

Slave culture had several facets, one of which was the market, which was particularly strong in the Caribbean.

Any surplus that they had was allowed to be sold in the market by their owners if they had any.

Because of this, slaves acquired an autonomy and individualism that contrasted dramatically with the tight supervision of the workgang system, as well as the potentially suffocating control of slave legislation.

These Maps Reveal How Slavery Expanded Across the United States

In 1860, the United States Coast Survey map determined the number of slaves in each county in the United States based on the data from the U.S. Coast Survey. “A Map showing the Distribution of the Slave Population of the Southern States of the United States,” published by the United States Coast Survey in September 1861, was approximately two feet by three feet and titled “Map showing the Distribution of the Slave Population of the Southern States of the United States.” It was based on demographic numbers acquired during the 1860 Census, which were confirmed by the supervisor of the Census Office, that the map indicated the proportion of people who were slaves in each county.

  • Slavery was concentrated in the Chesapeake Bay and in eastern Virginia; along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts; in acrescents of lands in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi; and, most importantly, in the Mississippi River Valley.
  • The Coast Survey map of slavery was one of several maps created from data collected in nineteenth-century America, and it was one of the most detailed.
  • Throughout the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln used it as a resource.
  • NoneDespite the fact that thematic mapping has its roots in the nineteenth century, the approach is still valuable for comprehending history in the modern day.
  • Despite the fact that maps are not able to tell us everything, they may be quite useful, particularly dynamic online maps that can zoom in and out, represent more than one subject, and be set in motion to illustrate change over time.
  • Instead of displaying a single metric, the interactive map displays the populations of slaves, free African Americans, all free people, and the entire United States, as well as each of those measures in terms of population density and proportion of the overall United States population.
  • You are welcome to explore the map for yourself, however I have developed animations to highlight some of the more significant patterns for your convenience.

During the years 1790 and 1800, the population of slaves in counties along the Atlantic Coast was practically at its maximum at any one period.

Take, for example, the county of Charleston in South Carolina.

It was in 1840 that the slave population reached a peak of approximately 59,000 individuals; by 1860, the number of enslaved people had dropped to 37,000, or just 63 percent of the number that existed two decades earlier.

The free white population in the northern hemisphere expanded in existing occupied areas and extended to the western hemisphere.

Despite the fact that slavery was eventually abolished in the North, it rose in severity in the areas surrounding the Chesapeake Bay.

Because slavery was an agricultural rather than an industrial form of capitalism, it spread rather than flourished as a result of the need for more agricultural areas.

Historian Steven Deyle believes that “at least 875,000 American slaves were forcefully transferred from the Upper South to the Lower South between 1820 and 1860,” according to his research.

Nevertheless, according to Deyle’s research, “between 60 and 70% of these people were trafficked through the interregional slave trade.” That is, slavery was not the paternalist institution that its defenders claimed it to be; rather, it was a mercilessly exploitative system in which the essential relationship between owner and enslaved was established by the markets.

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The following is an excerpt from Abraham Lincoln’s 1858 “House Divided” speech: “Either the opponents of slavery will arrest its further spread, and place it in a position where the public mind will rest in the belief that it is on the verge of extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, until it shall become equally lawful in all of the States, old and new, North and South.” Two animations are shown below, one comparing the density of the slave population with the density of the whole population of the world (keep in mind that the scales are different).

  • This animation depicting the density of the slave population from 1790 to 1860 demonstrates how slavery spread more rapidly than it increased.
  • It is important to note that the population in the north continues to expand while also spreading westward.
  • A considerable number of slaves lived in the northern states during most of the early republic’s first two decades, and this population only gradually decreased as a result of progressive emancipation legislation.
  • From 1790 to 1860, the percentage of the people that were slaves is seen in this animation.
  • The population density of all free individuals (shown below in 1860) shows that enormous swaths of the South appear to be totally devoid of human population.
  • In the United States, the free African American population predominantly settled along the Eastern shore, with a concentration in the cities of the northern United States.
  • From 1790 to 1860, this animation depicts the free African American population in the United States.
  • The Census did not count any slaves in Vermont, which had abolished slavery in its constitution of 1777 and hence was exempt from counting them.
  • The whipping agony and liberation, the tiredness of labor, and the sounds of preaching and yelling at a religious assembly are all things that cannot be captured by these maps; for that, one needs read one of the many great histories available.
  • Several modern histories of the domestic slave trade, including Carry Me Back: The Domestic Slave Trade in American Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), have been published by Steven Deyle; the data quoted above are from page 289 of that book.

On the history of slavery in general, see Erskine Clarke’s Dwelling Place: A Plantation Epic (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005); on the history of slavery specifically, see Ira Berlin’s Generations of Captivity: A History of African-American Slaves is a history of slavery in the United States (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003).

(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2011).

Graham, 1861). The image is courtesy of the Library of Congress. History of African Americans Slavery and the Civil War are two topics that are recommended videos.

The Limitations of the Slave Narrative Collection

Only a few of historians and social scientists attempted to exploit the wealth of information contained in the ex-slave testimony prior to the rise of interest in slavery caused by the Black Protest Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. One important reason for this neglect was that the entire collection was very inaccessible until 1972, when it was finally opened to the public. Despite the fact that the original transcripts were available for reference in the Rare Book Division of the Library of Congress, the collection does not circulate, and its sheer size (more than ten thousand unindexed pages) undoubtedly discouraged efforts to make it more widely available and useful.

  1. Another important reason for the collection’s disuse prior to its discovery in the 1970s was the prevailing skepticism with which historians have treated personal memories in the past.
  2. Since the apparent untrustworthiness of these conversations with elderly former slaves has been raised on a number of occasions, it has not been insignificant to protest to their usage in historical study.
  3. Although it had been more than seventy years since slavery ended when the informants were interviewed, the majority of them had only known slavery as children or teens at the time of the interviews.
  4. These variables frequently worked together to cause individuals to look back on the past with rose-colored glasses on; they fondly recalled events and situations that were not, in reality, as pleasant as they remembered them.
  5. Exaggeration may have resulted as a result of the interview process itself, which provided informants with the opportunity to be the center of attention on several occasions.
  6. Second, whether the interviewers were able to get genuine replies from their informants and, third, if what the informants said was correctly documented are also key problems regarding the use of the slave narratives.
  7. The quality of typewritten accounts in the Collection is quite variable, reflecting the wide range of abilities of the Federal Writers who worked on them.
  8. Almost all of them exhibited little worry about the difficulties of distortion inherent in the interview process and showed little sensitivity to the subtleties of interview practice.
  9. When the questionnaire is too carefully followed, the consequence is replies that are styled and shallow, and they lack the element of spontaneity.

As Rawick’s searches of the state Authors’ Project records reveal, some of the writers and editors themselves took on the responsibility of revising, altering, or censoring their own work as well. 27

The Limitations of the Slave Narrative Collection: Race and Representativeness

It is likely that the race of the interviewer had an impact on an informant’s reaction. As previously stated, the Writers’ Projects staffs in the states where former slaves were questioned were predominantly composed of white individuals. Since race was a crucial element in generating responses from formerly enslaved people, the relative absence of black interviewers added an important source of bias into the study. The definition of the interview scenario for these elderly African Americans was impacted by the etiquette of Southern race relations, and some of their interviewers were even descendants of previous slaveholding families.

  1. Many people, for similar reasons, were probably less than completely frank or refused to disclose the whole story, resulting in a type of self-censorship on their parts.
  2. As an example, Paul D.
  3. Furthermore, 26 percent of those answering to white interviewers showed unfavorable sentiments about their previous employers, but 39 percent of those responding to black interviewers did so.
  4. There were several topics and concerns that were not influenced by the race of the interviewer in any significant way.
  5. Lantz, in a comprehensive review of family patterns in the ex-slave interviews, there was no indication that the race of the interviewer had any effect on the general reporting of family ties.
  6. Another issue that has arisen in connection with the Slave Narrative Collection is the question of whether or not the informants are representative of the population.
  7. This is not an insurmountable difficulty in and of itself, except for the fact that it has been impossible to ascertain the mechanisms by which informants were chosen.
  8. The skewness of the sample may be observed in the following figures, which are straightforward: While blacks over the age of eighty-five tended to live in rural regions in the 1930s, the majority of the tales in the collection are from those who lived in metropolitan areas.

The amount of interviews received by each of the participating states also varied significantly, ranging from three in Kansas to approximately seven hundred in Arkansas, among other things.

Should the Slave Narrative Collection Be Used?

Given the numerous issues of authenticity and dependability that surround the interviews, one would be tempted to give up on the idea of utilizing them at all. They were not extensively employed in a serious manner by scholars until the 1970s, in fact. According to David Henige, after a cursory discussion of the context in which the interviews were conducted, the ex-slave narratives provide reliable information on only certain topics, such as childhood under slavery, some aspects of family life, some details on slave genealogies, and some unintended insights into the nature of memory and interview psychology.

Each type of historical document has its own unique set of advantages as well as its own set of inherent limits when it comes to offering an insight of the past.

Example: If one wishes to participate in the enduring argument regarding the profitability of slavery, information received via narratives will be extremely impressionistic and hence far less value than information obtained from other sources such as plantation records.

In no way does this suggest that they should be used primarily or without regard for safety.

31 Recent research conducted by Saidiya V.

She wonders, given all of their limits, how one should go about utilizing these resources.

Despite the numerous caveats and restrictions placed on them, these tales continue to be an essential source for comprehending the everyday experience of slavery and its consequences.

It is my goal that through reading these records, I would be able to obtain a better understanding of black life under slavery and the postbellum period, while also being conscious that it will be impossible to entirely recreate the experience of the slaves. 32


  1. A microfilm version of the collection became available in the 1960s
  2. John W. Blassingame, The SlaveCommunity: Plantation Life in the Ante-Bellum South (New York, 1972
  3. Revised edition 1979)
  4. John W. Blassingame, “Using the Testimony of Ex-Slave: Approaches and Problems,” Journal of Southern History 41 (1975): 490. To read a critical critique of Blasingame’s “The Slave Community,” see Al-Tony Gilmore, ed., “Revisiting Blasingame’s “The Slave Community”: The Scholars Respond,” published by Al-Tony Gilmore, et al (Westport, Conn.,1978). The introduction to Blassingame’s Slave Testimony (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: University of Louisiana Press, 1977), an exhaustive compilation of letters and speeches written by slaves and former slaves, interviews conducted by journalists, scholars, and government officials, and autobiographies, contains a substantially expanded version of Blassingame’s detailed critical assessment of different forms of personal testimonies, particularly the Slave Narrative Collection interviews. Ex-slave interviews have been the subject of recent controversy in North Carolina, where the state NAACP challenged a community college course taught by members of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, who claimed that, based on their analysis of Slave Narrative Collection interviews, “70 percentof slaves were satisfied with their lives in captivity.” The state NAACP won the case. “Class Teaches That Slaves Were Happy,” New York Times, November 16, 1998, A15
  5. Rawick, The American Slave, Supplement Series 1 and 2
  6. Rawick, The American Slave, Supplement Series 1 and 2. Particularly noteworthy are Rawick’s observations on the differences between early versions of Texas interviews and the final ones that were forwarded to Washington for inclusion in the Slave Narrative Collection. The majority of the information that was removed from later editions did not adhere to the dominant white ideas about good race relations and racial etiquette at the time. Rawick, The American Slave, SupplementSeries 2, 1: xxx-xxxix
  7. Paul D. Escott, Slavery Remembered: A Record of Twentieth-Century Slave Narratives(Chapel Hill, N.C., 1979)
  8. Herman R. Lantz, “Family and Kinas Revealed in the Narratives of Ex-Slaves,”Social Science Quarterly60 (1980): 670 Among the many critical assessmentsofthe utility of the ex-slave interviews are Rawick, From Sundown to Sundown, xviii-xix
  9. Escott,Slavery Remembered, 6-17
  10. Rawick,The American Slave, Supplementary Series 1, 1:xix-xli, lxxxvi-cvi
  11. Yetman,Voices From Slavery,3-4
  12. C. Vann Woodward, “History from Slave Sources,” American Historical

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