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Blacks In Civil War Essay

1367 words - 5 pages

Slavery was abolished in this country over a hundred years ago but the consequences of this dark page in America's history are felt even today. This site was created to address those consequences, the political, social and cultural life of today's and yesterday's African Americans. What affect did the Civil War have on African Americans in the United States? Were they, as some argued, better off before the Civil War, or do the advances that blacks have made since then proved that the Civil War was indeed the turning point in the lives and opportunities of African Americans? These questions and more will be addressed in the following pagesWhen slaves were purchased off the ships from Africa, they ended up on plantations. The size and location of landholdings depended on the crop and the owner who purchased the slave. Most plantations were of the smaller variety and it was rare for an owner to have more than 20 slaves. Most housed only a handful of slaves, but no matter what the numbers, plantation life was pretty much the same for most slaves. Slaves were usually divided into two groups, the gang crew (usually male and did the field work) and the task crew (usually female and worked in the "big house"). The workday began around sunrise and always ended before dark except at busy times such as harvest. Slaves were not worked after dark for a number of reasons. First, the owners feared that escape would be easier; second, working after dark was considered an unwarranted burden on the slave; lastly, they believed that it impeded efficiency by reducing the hours of sleep the slave received. This is not to say the slave owners were compassionate. They saw the slaves not as humans but a business investment and only wanted to protect that investment. Slaves were not required to work on Sunday, as it was denounced as irreligious and a flagrant violation of the slave's deserved day of rest. However, they worked every other day, rain or shine. A reasonable day's work meant a daily chore that while not back-breaking required a brisk pace to finish. Although whites believed that slaves could neither do as much nor continue to work as long as whites, both crews worked anywhere from 12-14 hours a day, with an hour or so for lunch at midday.After a long day in the field or the master's house, slaves were allowed to return to their families, a family much different than those African Americans enjoy today.
For the most part, marriages were arranged. To couples in arranged marriages, the idea of falling in love and having children was not even considered. Most slave owners agreed that ideally slave unions should be among the slaves on the same plantation and that marriage should be a way of breeding and promoting morality. The master would most often officiate at the wedding. They were then sent off to their quarters for a couple hours alone together. It was not unusual, and indeed expected, for slave women to have a child every year. Indeed it was not...

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