The Mistreatment of Slaves
In no way shape or form can agree with those that believe slavery was justified or with those that say slavery never existed. Facts have proven these hypotheses otherwise.
Also cannot agree with those that believe that slaves were treated fairly. Information passed down through generations as well as concrete written evidence proves the mistreatment of slaves for many reasons. They range from the fact of slaves across the world not being considered a whole person (3/5 of a person to be exact), them being the property of their owner, some even say that slaves were uncivilized and served to be treated as such.The list goes on and on with reasons and ways slaves were mistreated. Will attempt to cover a great deal of them but cannot truly grasp slavery true form due to biases Of authors and an attempt from other authors to cover up the wrong doing on slaves of African descent. The nature of the way slaves were captured as well as their journey to their slave land predicted their future treatment. From the many sources Eve come across, they all seem to mention how slaves were captured.
Whether it be Europeans or French capturers, upon landing in Africa, slaves were taken room their homeland regardless of gender or social position in their tribe.Men were captured more often women. Men could be used for more physical labor and women for physical labor but more housework. In no way am I stating that women did not work as hard as men during slavery. Children were also captured for labor. Some infants were abandoned by their slave parents. They were left to die or to be taken into a family by somebody who passed by.
The parents did this because they were not able to take care of the baby. If they did keep the baby, the masters wife would raise it.Parents did to want their children to go through the harsh conditions of slavery. It went from capturing them on the main land to mistreatment on the slave ship. Slaves were squashed into wooden crates where they were then clamped in chains. They were then loaded onto the ships in which there were two ways they could be loaded. There was the “tight pack”- where they would be laid on their sides like sardines, therefore you cold fit more slaves on a ship and then there was the “loss pack” where they were allowed to lay on their backs with just 14 inches of space each.
Either way no one was particularly comfortable specially because they were laid on rough wooden shelves and clamped together so no one could move without moving the rest of their row with them. The conditions below the deck were very unhealthy. During the 4-7 week journey, the ships may have been cleaned once every few weeks. Most of the time this took place while the slaves were exercised. Below deck the place reeked of urine, vomit, sweat, feces, and was described as a “bile puking smell. ” The excruciating heat made these conditions no better. Many of the slaves got very sick.
They either got sick from being so close to other sick laves, lying on their own excretions or from untreated wounds. Friction burns and sores were very common from the rough wooden shelves and the whip. Though the whip was not used very often, when used they left nasty bruises and open flesh wounds. They quickly became infected due to the lack of medical treatment and hygiene. Slave capturers took no proper care of their slaves. A great number of them never made it off the slave ship because of death but, the fact that there were so many of them and capturers saw them as replaceable property didn’t help the situation.The actual auctioning off of the slaves was a very demeaning and excruciating process.
When the slaves reached their final destination whether it be North America, South America, or another place, they were auctioned off as property. Exhibited in a public space, slaves were examined for their health and physical strength. More muscular, taller male slaves went for a higher price than women and children Prospective slave owners tried to get slaves at a discount and others paid a hefty price after negotiating with capturers.The 1998 film Down in the Delta, is a prime example of the believed value Of slaves during that time. A particular scene showed where two brothers were both sold into slavery. One was sold for money and the other for a mere candlestick. Families were knowingly torn apart due to the lack of sympathy of slave capturers and owners.
It was also due to the fact that families or friends would form alliances and revolt and no one wanted that. This leads me to many other reasons why slaves were mistreated.Primarily slaves were mistreated because their captors believed they weren’t a whole person. Slaves were considered to be 3/5 of a person. Others considered them to be property. Thus they were traded, handled and sold as such with no regard to the slaves feelings, hygiene, physical needs or references. Slave owners feared that slaves would revolt if they had any freedom.
Most plantation slave owners did not allow their slaves to be educated. They believed that if they read or write or knew how to communicate effectively with each other, they could plan revolt or an escape.Slave owners also believed that slaves didn’t need to be educated. Their only use was physical labor which required no education, just a small amount of instruction in dangerous fields. Later in my paper I will discuss why some slave owners invested in education and training of their more profitable slaves. The life of a slave was very hard and is probably very difficult to imagine now. Whole families would be taken from their homes in Africa and moved into dreadful cramped, harsh conditions on a slave ship.
Many slaves died during their journey to their “new home. The people would then be sold as slaves and separated from their families. They became property’ just as you would own a bicycle or car. They had no rights at all. This meant that they had n right to say who they wanted their master to be, where they wanted to live, their length of enslavement and how long they toiled in the dreadfully hot sun or as much as 18 hours a day doing the work for their master. Being a slave meant many things. You were no longer allowed t make decisions for yourself.
You did everything on your slave master’s time.A slave may have had to change their name to that of their owner. They had no regular diet, poor working conditions, no medical care, which resulted in the average slave only living fro seven years. Their “homes” were shacks built from whatever leftover material the master may have had. They slept on the cold soil often with no blankets to cover themselves. Their children if they had NY lacked the supplies they needed to survive and often died from starvation or sickness. This is the reason why many slave parents left their infants in their homelands.
They would rather abandon them than have them live a life of slavery. Slavery was a very dangerous institution. Sugar planting, harvesting, and processing is tiring, hot, dangerous work and requires a large number of workers whose work habits must be intensely coordinated and controlled. Slaves sustained many injures while working the fields. Their lack Of knowledge Of using equipment if there was any and the equipment itself as dangerous. Cotton plants had many sharp parts that would prick or cut parts of the body and slaves still worked throughout the day with these injuries.From the very beginning of sugar cultivation in the New World, there were not enough European settlers to satisfy the labor requirements for profitable sugar plantations.
Native Americans were enslaved to work on the earliest sugar plantations, especially in Brazil. Those who could, escaped from the fields, but many more died due to European diseases, such as smallpox and scarlet fever, and the harsh working conditions on the sugar plantations. A Catholic priest named Barstool De lass Cases asked King Ferdinand of Spain to protect the Taint Indians of the Caribbean by importing African slaves instead. O, around 1505, enslaved Africans were first brought to the New World. For the next three and a half centuries, slaves of African origin provided most of the labor for the sugar industry in the Americas. A healthy, adult slave was expected to be able to plow, plant, and harvest five acres of sugar. Sugar planting was back-breaking work.
Lines of slaves, men, women and children, moved across the fields, row by row, hand-planting thousands f seed-cane stems. Between 5,000 and 8,000 pieces had to be planted to produce one acre of sugar cane. Workdays in the fields typically lasted from 6 a. . To 6 p. M. With a noon-time break of perhaps two hours.
During harvest, field slaves worked even longer hours, especially in Louisiana where workers raced against the weather to collect the harvest before the first frost and attacks by insects. Mature sugar cane’s exterior skin is so hard that workers had to cut through the stem with cutlasses or machetes. They also had to Stoop to cut the cane at ground level because the most sugary section of the Anne is the lower stem. Harvesting cane was as backbreaking work as planting cane, and cuts from the sharp tools were common.Once the cane stalk was cut, slaves stripped any remaining leaves and stacked the cane. It then would be tied into bundles and loaded onto donkeys, wagons, or two-wheeled carts to be carried to the sugar mill. Throughout their work, overseers with whips supervised the field slaves.
Once the harvest began, it was essential to process the cane immediately. Slaves ran the sugar mills, feeding the stalks between giant rollers. Up to a dozen boys and men typically worked around he clock to process sugar, working with the stench of rotting cane in intense heat.As machinery grew more complex, with conveyor belts, Ireless’s sugar processing evaporator and centrifuges, the slaves working the sugar houses became increasingly skilled mechanics. Yet, it was not unusual for slaves to be injured or crushed when trapped and pulled into the rollers as they fed stalks into the mill or tried to untangle stalks from flywheels and gears. Slaves also boiled the cane juice, ladling scum from the surface of the scalding liquid and then transferring it from kettle to kettle, reducing the syrup to crystals.Slaves routinely suffered burns during this process, often referred to as the “Jamaica Train,” and the heat in the sugar houses was so intense that slaves were rotated Out after four hours, their limbs swollen from the heat and humidity.
Once the crystals formed, there was still heavy labor ahead. The harder the solid cakes of sugar were, the better the sugar quality, but the pieces had to broken up with shovels, picks and crowbars. Finally, sugar was shoveled into hogsheads (wooden barrels) and packed solidly before the barrel holes were plugged with a piece of sugarcane.The sugarcane plug helped to siphon out he remaining molasses from the sugar in the hogshead; the molasses dripped onto a floor angled so it would drain into a trough or cistern. Then, the slaves would scoop molasses into barrels by hand. By the sass, the expected yield from each slave’s labor was five hogsheads of sugar and 250 gallons of molasses. During harvest, slaves worked day and night, especially in the mills and guardhouse, so that there would be no bottlenecks in production.
Shifts lasted up to 18 hours. Sugar production paused only as slaves cleaned out fireboxes or other equipment.Although some planters revived extra food and drink during the harvest and others encouraged competitions to boost production, sugar production was the result of coercion. Slaves in the sugar fields and mills were controlled by both the threat and use of deadly force. Punishment of slaves was very harsh and frequent. Slaves were punished physically most of the time. They were beaten with objects, whipped, and publicly humiliated in front of other slaves to make an example of them.
Slave masters also tried to break the spirit of the proud slaves. They demeaned them and wanted to make them feel as they were worthless.Reasons why they were punished included talking back to a slave master, doing what they wanted instead of what they were told, requesting where they wanted to live and who they wanted to live with. In many cases slaves were publicly punished as a form of entertainment to the people of the town. The life of a slave was not an easy one. Some slaves committed suicide during their time to avoid the tortures of their slave masters. Treatment of slaves also largely relied on where the slavery took place.
Slavery took place in many settings but will focus on the difference between urban and plantation slavery.According to Herbert S. Klein, urban slavery was a less restrictive institution than slavery on the plantation. Many urban slave owners invested training and education in their slaves so they would be more productive in their owners’ businesses. Other slave owners rented out their skilled slaves as professional cooks musicians and other jobs to gain additional money. In this type of arrangement, the slaves would hand over his earnings to his owner even though he might not be living with the owner. For urban slaves, the city provided contact with freemen, other urban slaves, and clubs for recreation.
There was plenty of opportunity to escape ND plan revolts. They could blend in very easily with free men, freed slaves, former slaves who purchased their freedom, and slaves living away from their master. Plantation slavery left no room for any of this. Most plantation slaves never left the plantation and those who did were with their master. The Treatment of Negro Slaves in the Brazilian Empire , an excerpt from The Journal of Negro History by Mary Wilhelmina Williams exhibits many of the unjust treatment slaves received particularly in Brazil.The text first provides a historical context of Brazil. It states that the number of Negro slaves in Brazil robbery reached it’s maximum between 1850 and 1860, estimating that there were a little less than three million Negro slaves in Brazil at the time.
Williams like Klein expresses that city slaves had an easier life than those in the country’, but no Negroes worked harder than the slaves at ROI, Bah, and other ports. Many of them were owned by clerks who wanted to profit from slave labor. They opposed purchasing wagons and other labor-saving machinery.The few wagons that were seen on the street were usually pulled by slaves. Pulling a wagon required slaves to rest a pole on their shoulders. In there cases, when carrying a sack of coffee weighing one hundred and sixty pounds, slaves had to carry the sack on their head. Carrying such heavy things ruptured the slaves, crippled their legs and damaged many other parts of their body.
The text goes on to explain that depending on what part of Africa the Negro slaves came from, the natives were less likely or more likely to adapt to the compulsory labor upon their arrival in Brazil.For example, the natives of Angola and the Congo, in consequence of some familiarity with servitude at home were more likely to adapt to the new conditions in Brazil in imprison to the Gibbons, Mosquitoes, and the Minas from Benign. An excerpt from an article by Jakarta Seventies describes the harsh life of a slave… “L saw many horrors in the way of punishment under slavery. That was why didn’t like the life.
The stocks, which were in the boiler house, were the cruelest. Some were for standing, other were for lying down. They were made of thick planks with holes for the head, hands and feet.They would keep slaves fastened up like this for two to three months for some trivial offence. They whipped the pregnant woman too. But lying face down with a hollow in the ground. For their bellies they whipped them hard but took care not to hurt their babies because they wanted as many as possible.
The most common punishment was flogging: this was given by the overseer with the rawhide lash which made Wales on the skin. They also had whips made of the fibers of some jungle plants which stung like the devil and flayed the skin off in strips. I saw many handsome Negroes with raw backs.Afterward the cuts were covered with compresses of tobacco leaves, urine and salt. (Supervision’ From prior knowledge also know that treatment of slaves differed largely depending on which country the slaves were in. In western Colombia ( Choc, Marino, and Caucus) slaves worked on extracting gold deposits from gold mines and extracting sugar cane from the sugar cane plantations. In eastern Colombia (Bevel or Sorrow) the slaves labor was concentrated on textiles in commercial mills.
Africans were digging in emerald mines, growing and extracting tobacco, and cotton, artisan work and other domestic work.The Africans in Colombia were Very strong willed though they were stripped of their freedom and had no rights. They began to fight for their freedom upon arrival in Columbia. Some Africans managed to escape their catcher. Slaves that escaped their catcher would flee to a Applique as a safe haven. Paleness are entire towns where escaped slaves found refuge. The slaves who made it to these towns were known as commissioners.
Choc was considered by historians to be a Applique.. Some coronaries fought for their freedom when their oppressors came looking for them. Others either ran away else argot caught and were sent back to their master.In 1805, Colombia and went to war with Spain with Simon Bolivar as their leader to gain their independence. Africans from all the countries involved joined in this fight for freedom. A historian noted that every three out Of five oldie’s were African.
Africans participated in all levels of military and political office. The war ended 14 years later in 1819, with the Latin American countries being victorious and gaining their independence. But although Colombia received their independence in 1 819, the abolition of slavery did not occur until 1 851. All the Afro-Colombians were finally free but , their life was still very difficult.They were forced to live in jungle areas as a mechanism of self-protection. In these jungles they learned how to have a harmonious relationship with the jungle environment and shared the ideology of estimate or miscegenation. Slaves in Venezuela were in high demand during the times of slavery in Latin America.
The Slaves were used to crop cocoa, a bean that is used to make chocolate, and is the main export of Venezuela. The slaves were referred to as unit s Of commerce, and they were known as pizza De India. This name given to them was a compliment to their great physical strength and their ability to keep working hard.These slaves also worked in places such as copper mines, pearl divers and fishers. These slaves resisted, but unlike most countries, the escape rates of the slaves were high as well. At one point in time, the slavery escape rate was which meant that one in every two to three slaves escaped from their masters. Comparisons in Venezuelan had much to do with this high escape rate.
They helped the slaves in these Venezuelan towns. They would raid the town’s plantations and assist the slaves in escaping. They would also partake trading for slaves, and once the slave was traded he would no longer be a slave.Ecuador was one of the better places for slaves to be taken to. Ecuador was not a country known to depend highly on slaves. They actually represented a small amount of the labor force. Ecuador had laws that protected slaves from being mistreated.
Slaves were also given the rights to “sacraments, including marriage, and thereby a right to conjugal life (Vida marriageable). Civil law provided slaves with the right to denounce cruel masters before local courts for gross mistreatment (services). Once a cruel master was denounced, officials launched an investigation in order to evaluate the merits of the claim…Masters found guilty of gross mistreatment usually suffered the penalty of having their slaves confiscated and sold to a new owner presumed to be more benevolent. ” ( De La Tore ; Stiffer 54) Slavery was abolished in 1821 , but it did not eventually end till 1881, 60 years later.
Now that we’ve covered the difference in treatment of slaves across a few Latin American countries, we can discover another major reason saves were treated unfairly There is a vast difference between being treated because you are a slave and being treat unfairly because of your appearance.During slavery, light-skinned African-Americans were perceived as intelligent, cooperative, and beautiful. They were more likely to work as house slaves. Light-skinned Blacks were also given preferential treatment by plantation owners and their henchmen. For example, they had a chance to get an education. Dark African Americans worked in the fields and did not get an education. Light skinned slaves being seen as better than the dark skinned slaves could be viewed as negative though.
Slave owners often raped their house slaves for many reasons.The sole reason being exerting power over the oppressed. It s also disputed that slave owners received more pleasure from sexual relations with their because of their bodies. Though many slave owners publicly expressed a disgust of the body of a woman of African descent, many secretly favored their body. Sandra Barman currently known s “the 1 SST video vixen” was a slave who was publicly ridiculed for her large breast ad wide hips. I’ve made the inference that since people found it amusing to touch her expose her, slave owners or sellers may have secretly liked her appearance.It may be in part to the fact that many slave owners and slave had sexual relations for the sole reason of reproduction so they enjoyed sex with their slaves.
It also could be that slave owners had sex with their slaves to produce more slaves to work their fields in the future. Pertaining to the different treatment of dark skinned and lighter skinned slaves, C. L. R. James’ The Black Jacobin, depicts that non slaves that were light often joined with their colonizers to capture slaves that ran away and punish others.The fact that the French colonizers were of a lighter complexion sheds light on the fact that lighter slaves were treated better than darker slaves even though they were slaves. House slaves, which were usually the lighter ones, traveled with the slave masters and were more presentable to visitors than the darker slaves.
After the abolition of slavery in every country, the life of the slave was still difficult. Some slaves blended it to their new culture, like he “colonial” black in panama, who was able to share the culture with the other Panamanian.But for slaves like the “canal” black in panama, mixing with this culture was impossible. They could barely speak the language that was taught to them by the Europeans, and could not speak the language of the local cultural peoples of South America. Africans like these were seemingly stuck in a hole. They had no culture to return to, they had forgotten their African ways once they became slaves. They could not immigrate to the local culture and the culture they already knew, The European culture, the people refused to help them.
They actually tried to bring them down even further. It is considered miraculous in some cases that the African race was able to survive till this very day, considering the circumstances given to them. In conclusion, it is evident that slaves were vastly mistreated. Williams, James and many other sources have provided us with the evident needed to refute the notion that slaves were treated fairly as well as the unjustified reasons slaves were treated as such. It is truly unorthodox and inhumane for humans to treat other humans in such a way they would not like to be treated.Modern day individuals need to realize that many of the discriminatory things we partake in consciously or unconsciously can be traced back to slave days. Though we may not truly understand what a slave went through, we can understand that slaves were not treated as the whole humans they were.