Anthropology Essays - African American Slavery

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African American Slavery

Essay Question #1, Chapter # 1

African slavery is a taboo yet peculiar topic, and has its roots leading to about 3100 BC. Actually enslaving each other, or rather; their own people, kingdoms began to emerge in Egypt. As the use of the Nile spread and natural living sources flourished, slavery became constant and common among these areas. With pharaohs claiming godlike abilities, they sought out to use the naive ness of there people to their satisfaction ultimately creating a harsh social condition with the people but creating empires and structures still wondrous and mystical to today.

Whether or not these “pharaohs” actually believed they had supernatural powers is foolish; how could they separate themselves from the other Egyptians. But, of course, the mathematicians and the architects responsible for the amazing structures around this period of time would be the closest thing to supernatural considering there time and resource to come up with such perfection and formulas.

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Besides this, slavery started out as a way to get a community of people to help build a civilization. Over time, this custom evolved into a forceful way of gaining the people’s control to work, and became a full-fledged market and spanned to western and south-eastern-Africa. Many of the Western civilizations, the kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Ife and Benin had rich cultural items and customs but needed forceful slavery in making these necklaces and making gold production.

Sadly, these items and customs overshadow the slavery and unorthodox and rather inhumane practices Americans could not fathom. Slavery in African civilizations rarely conducted field labor. In fact, they were used to sell to Europeans as prisoners for war and fine clothes and jewelry not found in their kingdoms. Although in Africa these slaves were treated better than slaves in America and Europe. They were allowed to have families, and education.

Essay Question #2, Chapter #2

Olaudah Equiano reveals in his autobiography the horrors of human immorality and brutality. Being slaves in West Africa, he and his sister where abducted by two men and a woman for slave purposes. Those nights he had then spent with these people were terrible: him and his sister had no appetite, were horrified, and it was irrelevant to call out for help as they were then bound and put into large sacs.

He explains that the only comfort he had was holding his sister and crying with her, until they eventually split the two, which devastated him immensely. This exposes the fact that slave traders did not care for their victims, nor did they realize what they were actually deriving them of: life, freedom, relationships, and love. I believe that breaking up the families in slavery was the most immoral and hurtful thing they did because there was a loss of comfort and hope from the slaves when they were no longer able to see how there families were doing from being enslaved.

Essay Question #2, Chapter #3

The Quaker belief of slavery was awkward in that they had few slaves present in aiding them, but treated them better than any other settlers in different regions. Although it is already inhumane to enslave another being, I feel that these slaves found themselves in a fortunate situation in being enslaved by Quakers instead of other settlers. These people believed strongly against violence, and would not retaliate against there slaves with physical action.

In addition to this, slaves did minor jobs, such as setting trees and bush, splitting wood, sawing boards, digging house foundations and laying out streets; otherwise productive things. Again, it still is absolutely immoral to enslave people, but the Quakers were the most just and lenient in what there were doing. Although slaves were present in their community, many Quakers refused to own slaves. German slaves justify their actions stating that they use these slaves for natural and productive work and are “handled like cattle in Europe” (Chapter 3, 58)

Essay Question # 2, Chapter #4

Black women in the slave system had a certain constant gloom over their head. These women were more vulnerable to emotional torture, being that they were women. In addition, being that most, if not all the slave owners’ were white; the female slaves knew that they could be sexually taken advantage of. In many cases these women were raped and were taken advantage of in front of the wife and family of the slave owner. It was very rare that black women would have consensual sex with the white slave owner.

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In those cases, the slave would take part in it for the betterment of her position as a slave or for the betterment of her kids. The general jobs these women had were usually caretaker jobs in which black women would take care of the children, cook, clean, wash, bathe and iron the family’s clothes. This is probably why there was a much greater bond between the black female slave and the family in comparison to the black male slave.

Essay Question # 1, Chapter # 5

The American Revolution had indifferent thought lead on to slaves. These slaves had options to whether stay and fight with the Americans in the hopes of winning and gaining a newfound respect and freedom in the America. They thought that if they fought with the patriots that if they were to win that they would gain independence, freedom, and respect by the Americans. Their other option was to evade their slave owners and flee to British rule and freedom and fight for their forces.

Either way, they would leave conformity and be faced with a life-threatening or life- benefiting decision. Full of confusion, patriotic slaves weren’t really allowed to fight for the war until about 2 years into it; not for moral reasons but just for the assistance. Almost all male slaves in their prime attempted to fight. At that time, only about one percent of the black men were free. Of course, at the end of the war, slavery was still dominant although ideas of abolishment did lurk within the early years after the war and into the production of the constitution.

Essay Question # 3, Chapter # 6

A slave named Gabriel had planned an astonishing plot against slavery in Richmond Virginia that included the killing of all noticeable white men and women who were for and supported slavery. The only people that Gabriel and his fellow slaves were Quakers, Methodists, poor women and children. He had all tactics planned out, and even devised a plan to obtain all the ammunition and guns held by the state and turn them against the folks. He hoped to accomplish a successful rebellion like that in Haiti and put an eventual end to slavery, state by state, count by county.