Essay by vinni119 March 2003

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Even though slaveholders tried everything in their power to keep control over slaves, the slaves raised above these restraints and created lives for themselves in many ways. Slave owners used many techniques to keep slaves under control, one of these being religion. Slaves were made to go to church where they were told to obey their masters as they would God. The slaves caught on to this and decided to have their own sermons conducted by african americans that taught the way of the lord without the masters knowledge. The slaveholders also made it illegal for the slaves to be taught how to be able to read so that they wouldn't gain intelligence and use it to rise against them. Even though it was illegal, some of the house-wives taught a few slaves how to read, which in turn they then taught other slaves to be somewhat literate. Masters also instilled the concept of paternalism or a father figure in their slaves to control them.

This is the concept that in exchange for the slaves labor and obedience, masters provided basic care and necessary guidance (p. 297). I believe that many slaves actually believed this concept that made slavery positive, while others knew that it was still wrong, but they couldn't speak out against it because of the fear of being beaten or sold to sugar cane plantations where the labor was intense. A major attribute in helping slaves have lives of their own was their culture that they brought from Africa, such as their music, dialect and traditions. The slaves would meet during the nights and use their music, dialect and traditions to create a better life away from the South's way of life for them, slavery. I believe that these are the ways that the slaves overcame slavery and were able to create a good life outside of slavery.