Antebellum Slave Family Structure

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The family structure of the slaves incorporated their previous African culture with the harsh reality of life in the New World to produce a family structure that was necessary to the slaves of the antebellum time period. This family structure was highly depended upon but was thwarted through the violence of everyday life. The cruelty that the white slave owners showed to the slaves was undoubtedly learned over time by the slaves. The physical manifestation of power over the slaves from the whites ultimately encouraged blacks, especially men, to demonstrate this learned violence onto those closest to them, their family. The slave men tried to exercise some form of control over what they had through their own acts of violence. When the masculinity of male slaves was being stripped from them day by day, they resorted to taking their anger out upon their children or spouses (Stevenson 226). The family structure of slaves in the antebellum time period was vulnerable to the violence that came from both the slave owners and those within the slave community who occasionally …show more content…
The excessive hours of physical labor and the lack of medical care led to a decreased quality of life amongst the slave populations. One way that the slaves found to overcome their physical barriers and attempt at maintaining their African culture was their dependence upon their family. This family structure allowed the slaves an individual sense of belonging in a communal setting. The religion held by the slaves also gave them a sense of individuality and gave them a unique form of autonomy on their own even while under the constant control of their masters. The slaves from the antebellum time period were strong when enduring the harshness of everyday life, all the while developing resilience to white oppression and maintaining their African culture in simple yet essential

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