African American Women Under Slavery This paper discusses the experiences of African American Women under slavery during the Slave Trade, their exploitation, the secrecy, the variety of tasks and positions of slave women, slave and ex-slave narratives, and significant contributions to history. Also, this paper presents the hardships African American women faced and the challenges they overcame to become equal with men in today’s society. Slavery was a destructive experience for African Americans especially women. Black women suffered doubly during the slave era.
Slave Trade For most women who endured it, the experience of the Slave Trade was one of being outnumbered by men. Roughly one African woman was carried across the
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A master’s control over both spouses reduced the black male’s potential for dominance over his wife. Whenever possible, black slave women manipulated their unique circumstances in the struggle for their personal dignity and that of their families. Black women rebelled against the inhumanities of slave owners. Like their ancestors and counterparts in Africa, most slave women took their motherhood seriously. They put their responsibilities before their own safety and freedom, provided for children not their own, and gave love even to those babies born from violence (Hallam, 2004).
Due to the sexual escapades of the white slave owners, both Caucasian and African American women had to keep births on the plantation a secret. A female slave was never able to say who the father of her child was. In some of the books on slave records, the father of the slave child would not be recorded because the child would have the status of the mother, regardless. If the female slave ever tried to tell who the father of her child was, she could be sent to jail, beaten, sold to another owner, or killed as a result. If a mistress knew that her husband was cheating on her, there was not very much that she could do. In some cases, the white women would make the slave woman work harder, be very rude to her, or even ask her husband to beat her (Women in Slavery, n.d.).
Variety of Tasks and Positions of Slave Women African American women