Slavery And Its Impact On Both Blacks And Whites

1486 words - 6 pages

Slavery and Its Impact on Both Blacks and Whites Slavery and Its Impact on Both Blacks and Whites The institution of slavery was something that encompassed people of all ages, classes, and races during the 1800's. Slavery was an institution that empowered whites and humiliated and weakened blacks in their struggle for freedom. In the book, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, slave Frederick Douglass gives his account of what it was like being a slave and how he was affected. Additionally, Douglass goes even further and describes in detail the major consequences the institution of slavery had on both blacks and whites during this time period. In the pages to come, I hope to convince you first of the mental/emotional and physical damage caused by slavery on black slaves, and secondly the damage slavery caused in the mental well-being of white slave-owners.Perhaps the most obvious way in which the institution of slavery has negatively impacted black slaves is physically. Slaves were often times beaten and whipped until bloody because their white masters felt they were being disobedient and needed them to learn to be subservient. In his narrative, Douglass describes and recalls a time when he witnessed his aunt being badly beaten by his heartless master."[Master] was a cruel man, hardened by a long life of slave holding. He would at times seem to take great pleasure in whipping a slave. I had often been awakened at the dawn of day by the most heart-rending shrieks of an own aunt of mine, was whipped upon her naked back till she was to move his iron heart from its bloody purpose. The louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped longest. He would whip her to make her scream, and whip her to make her hush..." (Douglass, 3-4).He also described the numerous ways in which many slaves' needs were not met. Slaves were not treated as human beings like you and I today; they were poorly fed and no slave ever felt full after a meal. Slaves were not provided beds but were forced to sleep on the floor and hardly ever had blankets to sleep with. In addition, slaves were forced to work long hours in the hot sun or in freezing weather without adequate clothing and were left little time for sleeping. Many slaves did not own shoes and pants and went naked several times throughout the year if their allowance ran out. The instances of physical neglect and abuse of slaves happened often and many times without real reason. But to go even further, this was not the only way in which slaves were abused.Black slaves were not only physically mistreated, but they also suffered much mental and emotional damage from white slave-owners and overseers as well. Douglass describes in his narrative several ways in which blacks suffered mentally and emotionally due to slavery.Above all else, whites felt their slaves should be obedient to their masters and learn a sense of respect for them. Additionally, white slave-owners felt...

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