Female Slave Culture

Improved Essays
In history it is obvious that slave culture has had a major effect on American society. Deborah Gray White discusses the life of female slaves and its effects in detail in her book Ar’n’t I a Woman? one of many topics she discusses is gender roles in slavery. Similar to today’s society gender played a huge role and was influential because female slaves could do things male slaves could not. Slavery impacted family life, and in many situations was unique to the female slaves. Additionally, white women who associated themselves with black slaves were almost immediately ostracized from the community. However, in spite of the issues female slaves faced, they were still able to assert and express their femininity.
It is no question that gender
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Many sons and daughters were born into slavery. However, the effect slavery had on families reveals a disturbing reality of how little their owners respected them. When slave traders sold slaves sold women and children separate from the men. This resulted in a constant separation of families at slave auctions (page 145). “Dan Lockhart, a fugitive slave, found the hardest thing about slavery to be the abuse of his wife and child. Expressing a sentiment shared by countless slave men Lockhart declared: ‘I don’t want any man to meddle with my wife.’” (White 146). While this had a major effect on the hearts and minds of male slaves, it also had a huge impact on female slaves. If a female slave is disobedient or upsets the slave owner in anyway shape or form owners would use threats of selling the mothers’ children to other plantations as a mean of getting them to submit. In addition, women almost never raised children with the help of their husbands. West African mothers, for example, would have the help of other West African women in raising children (White …show more content…
Because of the oppressive nature of slavery opportunities to express their femininity. Female slaves would only dress up in clothes they found in the trash or happened to steal. Since women did not have chances to dress in their most vibrant clothes they would save their best clothes for Sundays at church and wedding, many would decorate their hats with sweet smelling flowers, doing so was a way female slaves boosted their self-esteem. In fact, even today many black still wear grand hats with elaborate flower decorations to church and sometimes weddings. In addition to wearing their Sunday’s best for church and weddings female slaves did so to get attention from male slaves again try to add some humanity to their lives (White 143). It is important to recognize the wickedness of slavery to understand why dressing up on special occasions was so special to slaves and female slaves in particular. For female slaves wearing their fancy clothes and hats decorated with flowers may seem pointless at first glance but it was a way of making themselves feel human. In conclusion, in history it can be seen that slave culture has had a major effect on more than just African Americans. The major impacts have influenced the culture of slave life and some have lasting effects on today’s society. Slavery’s impact on family life was devastating and had its greatest effect on female

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