Slavery in the Caribbean - International Slavery Museum, Liverpool museums
Sometimes, the relationship between the owners and domestic slaves was much closer than it was, for example, with the field slaves. The process of turning a person into a house servant or field hand was called Source for information on House Slaves: An Overview: Gale Library of Daily Life: carried African names, and maintained a strong connection to the culture of their ancestors. . "A Jamaica Slave Plantation" The American Historical Review vol. From the International Slavery Museum's website, part of the National Museums The work in the fields was gruelling, with long hours spent in the hot sun, works, the conditions were often worse, especially the heat of the boiling house.
Resistance Since women and men were both treated equally under the law, under the whip, and shared similar labour roles, both took part in acts of resistance. Plantation owners were suspicious of women and believed them to be more troublesome then men.
Subtle day to day activities such as being slow at work or faking illness was economically damaging for plantation owners.
One of my favourite sources that I came across talked of a large number of women going to the doctors but sitting in the waiting room and just having a chat. Burning crops and property were some extreme methods.
House Slaves: An Overview | az-links.info
Running away was common which Prince did a couple of times but publishing her autobiography was her biggest resistance against slavery.
Despite being seen as the feeble minority, enslaved women were at the heart of slave resistance; a way of surviving these horrific circumstances that so many African women and men were unfortunately apart of.
When looking at slavery it is usually through a male perspective. I found it quite interesting then researching the role of the female on these plantations. These women were not in the background being silent but were quite important for the plantation owners and played an active role in the resistance of slavery.
A Student Reader, 1st ed. Ian Randle Publishers Limited,p.
Men, women, and children of all ages served as field hands. Pregnant women would often work in the fields until they delivered. Elderly men and women worked until they were disabled. The lifestyle of the field hand was backbreaking for most. In stark contrast to the field hand was the life of the house slave.
House slaves primarily performed tasks associated with maintaining the domestic life and home of the plantation owner. Typically this would include the following: The house slaves, although free from the backbreaking work of the field slaves, worked long hours as well.
They were required to organize their entire lives around the social needs of the master's family. This was particularly true if there were young children. African American women, who served as domestic slaves, often performed the work of wet nurse and surrogate mother to newborns. Men would play a variety of roles including playmate and personal servant to adolescents as well as drivers. Drivers were essentially extensions of the overseer.
They monitored the work of the field hands, disciplined the enslaved population through the use of violence, and participated in capturing runaways. Unlike field hands, house slaves were often given hand-me-downs from the master's family.
In some cases instead of living in the slave quarters, they were given rooms in the master's home. Because they served as cooks they often consumed the leftovers from meals prepared for the master's family.
Although learning how to read and write was illegal, many house servants learned from the wives and children of the plantation owner. Differences between the work of house servants and field hands led to sharp social class distinctions within the plantation system.
Socially speaking, house servants were considered a privileged class among the enslaved population. Because of their physical proximity to the home of the plantation owner, they often absorbed the culture and associated material benefits of the master Ingrahampp.
- Plantation Life
- House Slaves: An Overview
- Women and men on the plantations
The overseer, to control the behavior and work habits of the enslaved, used these divisions skillfully. Plantation owners who were disgruntled with their house servants would threaten to make these servants work out in the fields. Slave owners also made an attempt to ensure that house servants and field hands would remain socially isolated, both physically and psychologically, from one another even if they shared blood ties.
House servants were threatened with flogging if they were caught interacting with field hands Williamsp. Other, less physically demanding tasks were handled by gangs of less robust, younger or older slaves. Even the very young and the old were put to work: From their early years until the onset of old age and infirmity, sugar slaves had to work. Sugar plantations also had factories that converted the harvested sugar cane into raw sugar and then into rum.
Tobacco plantations were smaller than sugar plantations. There, slaves did not work in gangs but often toiled side by side with free labour. Workers would often suffer with boils from long hours of standing in the salt water. We were called again to our tasks, and worked through the heat of the day; the sun flaming upon our heads like fire, and raising salt blisters in those parts which were not completely covered. Our feet and legs, from standing in the salt water for so many hours, soon became full of dreadful boils… afflicting the sufferers with great torment.
But the forced workers engaged in rice cultivation were given tasks and could regulate their own pace of work better than slaves on sugar plantations. Whatever the crop, labouring life was dictated by the cycles of the agricultural year.
The sugar crop took six months to harvest. With tobacco, the process stretched over 18 months. On coffee plantations — located at higher, more temperate locations — work was not nearly as arduous as it was on sugar or rice plantations. Levels of skill Field hands tended to be labelled as unskilled, but their efforts were complemented by those of others. The plantations depended on skilled slaves — masons, joiners, coopers, metalworkers — to keep factories, fields, equipment and transport prepared and functioning.
The needs of the wider slave community were served by other vital workers: Those who were skilled and experienced in agriculture were often responsible for important decisions on plantations: Everywhere, in all plantation societies, domestic slaves catered for every need of local owners and managers, White and mixed-race, in their homes. Slave labour in the wider world Taking with them lessons learned on the plantation, the enslaved spilled out into wider colonial world.
They were taken with their owners into nearby towns and ports, transporting finished produce to the dockside and collecting goods from the inbound Atlantic ships. Many were simply rented out as 'jobbing' slaves, to work at whatever task they were given by the men and women who paid their owners for their work. The forced labourers worked in towns and on the quaysides, on local river boats and even on the Atlantic ships.
They worked as cowboys in the frontier regions — and even found themselves employed as domestics to fashionable society in Europe. But all had come from the world of plantation slavery. To a marked degree, their treatment depended on the individuals in charge. Yet the most brutal aspect of their lives was not so much personal ill-treatment though there was plenty of thatbut the system itself.
Those who were forced to work on the plantations were considered chattel items of propertycommodities owned by others.
The lash — both its image and its sound — is perhaps the most common memory of plantation slavery, and critics and visitors were often astonished at how frequently they saw plantation slaves physically abused.
Normally such punishment was used to force them to work, but the lash was also employed for a range of offences or even in a cavalier fashion, in the hands of men and women to whom brutality was a way of life. But plantation slavery did not function simply because of threats or violence.
Slaves were also cajoled and persuaded to work. They were given small incentives — extra foods, clothing, time free from work — in the hope that they would work effectively.
Slavery in the British and French Caribbean
They were also given land on which to cultivate foodstuffs or rear animals for their own use. Yet violence was the ultimate threat and the lubricant of the entire system, much as it had been on the slave ship.
Personal violations Plantation slaves suffered other personal violations. They could be moved from one property to another. An owner might, without notice, sell them to someone else, or they might be sold when a planter died or fell on hard times.
Moreover, they might be moved simply because the owner had bequeathed them as part of his property to his children. Slaves found themselves removed, in an instant to a distant, unknown location, leaving behind family and loved ones, friends and community. This was one of the most bitterly resented features of plantation life right across all plantation colonies. No less common and brutal was sexual exploitation.