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Life On Plantation

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Introduction

Plantations were large farming areas where tobacco, rice and cotton were grown, most of which would be sold. Most black people would be slaves on these plantations. Slavery for the plantation owners was cheap and very useful. Life for slaves on the plantations wasn't very pleasant. Lots of white people believed that black slaves were ideal to work in hot conditions on the field since they've lived under the same climates in Africa where it was also very hot. An overseer had slaves under his control and he ran the plantation. There they were in charge of all the work groups. Overseers were responsible for making slaves work as hard as they could to make a profit and keep the plantation running. Nearly all of them used a whip to control the slaves. Overseer would be supervising the beating of a slave by the other slaves. Punishments like these were meant to ensure a complete obedience. Overseers weren't meant to kill a slave but if they did little would happen to them. Many slaves were beaten so often that they were permanently scarred. Overseers could be white or black although the majority were black and male. The slaves had to work very long hours and in the fields. ...read more.

Middle

By 1720 there were so many black slaves in the south that they outnumbered the whites. The rice farmers operated a 'task system', in which slaves were given a job to complete each day. Only when their task was finished they were allowed to stop working. Masters hardly ever visited their fields, they left overseers to supervise the slaves' work. Domestic Slavery Although most slaves worked on the fields or on the plantations, many also worked in the houses as domestic servants or in towns as skilled craftspeople. On the plantations everywhere most of the time women worked as domestic servants, washing, cleaning, polishing. Other women had more specialised work such as nurse, cook or dressmaker. All servants must be ready to come to their master and also to their master's wife, who often were more horrible than their master, whenever they wish to need them. For many female slaves, the worst part of their slavery was the sexual commands of their white masters. Male slaves were able to find work away from the fields much faster than the women because there was much better variety of jobs to choose from for them. Possible occupations included shoemaker, painter, blacksmith, carpenter, groom, some slaves did several of these jobs. ...read more.

Conclusion

Even so slaves fought against all the odds to defend the family network. Most planters didn't think twice about separating members of the family. Male slaves were often hired or sold to a different estate, leaving wives to bring up their children on their own. Children inherited their mothers' position as slaves. Some slave children were put out to work in the fields as young as 4yrs of age such as pulling out weeds or picking up rubbish. Older children looked after the younger children while their mothers were busy. Family life meant a lot to slaves but it often ended in grief. Even though slaves were allowed to marry the marriage was not accepted by white law. Slave families were often split up. For whites, slaves only got married to produce more slaves, so that they could be used or sold off to someone else. However for some slaves if they had kind masters marriage saved them from misery. Overseers and some white masters took advantage of black slave girls. Their children would also be sold as slaves. The earliest slaves lived in farm outbuildings, or in dormitories. But as slave families got bigger many planters built a tiny log cabin for each family unit. The accommodation provided for slaves usually consisted of wooden shacks with dirt floors. By Mohamed Aidarous 8O ...read more.

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