African Americans in Slavery
“ Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women. Superadded to the burden common to all, they have wrongs, and sufferings, and mortifications peculiarly their own.” ( Harriet Brent “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” page 119). Gender played a key role in slavery and after reading “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” it is obvious that women in slavery received far worse treatment then that of men. Not to take away the incredible injustices that were dealt upon men during slavery America, but more to emphasize the even greater hardships that African-American women faced during this time period. This paper will consist of a comparison between gender roles, religion (faith), and overall treatment of men versus women during slavery.
Specific incidents collected from “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” “Black Boy” (author Richard Wright), and various web sites will be the basis for this document. It is impossible to compare any hardships suffered by either sex during slavery to personal experience so no attempt will be made to do so. The main point will be to compare males and females in every aspect of slavery and how each dealt with their circumstances.
The church system at the time of slavery was also very influential towards the treatment of slaves and especially female slaves because the white interpretation or foggy misrepresentation of the bible held white males as the superior in all aspects of life. Not even a white woman would be considered a white males equal let alone an African-American women. One example of misrepresentation of the gospel was evident in a sermon given by Mr. Pike in “Incidents in the life of a slave girl.” “ Hearken ye servants! Give strict heed unto my words. You are rebellious sinners. Your hearts are filled with all manner of evil. ‘Tis the devil who tempts you. God is angry with you, and will surely punish you, if you don’t forsake your wicked ways. You that live in town are eye-servants behind your master’s back. Instead of serving your masters faithfully, which is pleasing in the sight of your heavenly master, you are idle, and shirk your work. God sees you. You tell lies. God hears you. Instead of engaged in worshipping him, you are hidden away somewhere feasting on your master’s substance; tossing coffee-grounds with some wicked fortuneteller, or cutting cards with another old hag. Your master may not find you out, but God sees you, and he will punish you. O, the depravity of your hearts!” (page 106) This is the religion that the slaves were allowed to receive. White people’s attempt to put the fear of God into slaves work in some instances but the men and women who’s faith in God had not been warn down by the constant tyranny of their masters found a way to survive and to eventually flourish. The power of faith is incredible when it can overcome everything a person has been taught since they were born on the soul...