King Cotton: A Reflective African American Culture

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Bound by the chains of “King Cotton,” African slaves brought to America faced imprisonment and oppression, and yet they were able to keep distinct parts of their unique African culture alive. Over time these facets of their African identities melded with aspects of American culture to form a distinctive African American culture in slavery. While family dynamics and religious expression remained fairly continuous, the religious beliefs of many slaves changed to reflect typical white beliefs. This adaptation helped to create an evolved culture different from that of both white Americans and Africans. To begin, the family dynamics of many slaves remained extremely similar to that of families in free Africa. Many young slaves were raised in two-parent nuclear families, as slaves often were encouraged to reproduce naturally and bountifully. Though families were sometimes …show more content…
Some Africans had been Christian, others Islamic or practicers of Voodoo. However, these Africans were forced to adapt to American plantation life where many became heavily Christianized. Though they kept some of their native practices, many African Americans came to identify themselves as Christian and even identified with some aspects of the Bible that they felt applied well to their lives in slavery. One example is that of Moses, who got Pharaoh to free the Israelites being held slaves in Egypt. These new beliefs were then turned into gospels and hymns that many blacks found peace in during the hardest days. To conclude, because of their position in slavery, African Americans created a distinctive culture of African rooted family dynamics and religious practices, fused with Americanized religious beliefs. Enslaved blacks showed strength and resilience but also the ability to adapt and evolve. They stood firm in a number of their ways but became flexible in others. Through this, African

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