The History of being a Slave

Essay by HarleeA, April 2005

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A slave is a person who is bound in servitude as the property of a person or household. The word slave brings us back to history around 1630's when African Americans were considered slaves to their masters (1). They served their masters as if they were just an object with no identity. They were told what to do, when to do it, where to do it, and how to do it. They had no say in any thing. Since African Americans were owned by their masters they had many ways that helped them to gain their true identity and keep it. African Americans had a very hard life during their time under their white master. Slaves were whipped, beaten, rapped, tortured, and threatened as if they were not even human. The infants and children were undernourished due to slave owners little concern for slave mothers health. Many pregnant women would not get any extra nourishment and their masters would make them do hard field work during their last months of pregnancy.

Half of all slave infants died during their first year of life, twice the rate of white babies(2). The expected life span was on average birth until 21 years old for African Americans born into slavery(3). African American Culture helped to shape the slaves identities. Slave religion, folklore music, language, dance, and art all shaped slaves culture. Their beliefs were a mixture of Christianity and African traditions. Their strong beliefs in them gave slaves hope necessary to take on slavery. The slaves songs helped keep them separate from their masters because most of the time only the slaves understood what the songs meant. Some songs told stories while others gave warning when a slave was going to try to escape. Many of the slave children learned valuable lessons from...