A former slave during the antebellum era, Lewis Clarke, said, ?How would you like to see your sisters, and your wives, and your daughter, completely, teetotally, and altogether, in the power of the master. ? You can picture to yourselves a little, how you would feel; but oh, if I could tell you!? Blacks during the time of slavery saw the many different experiences women had to go through, from ?breeding? slaves to working in the fields (Woman and the Family in a slave society, Catherine Clinton, pg.13).
Many of times, masters would send for the younger female slaves around the ages of 13 and older. At this time he would then rape her. This was not uncommon to happen. Madison Jefferson, another emancipated slave, said, ?Women who refused to submit to the brutal desires of their owners, are repeatedly whipt to subdue their virtuous repugnance, and in most instances this hellish practice is but too successful – when it fails, the women are frequently sold off to the south. Living under a social order which deprived them of virtually all means of gaining personal preferment except the granting of sexual favors, there is little doubt that many slave women submitted willingly to the advances of their masters, some of the family, or, overseers, hoping to receive favors in return. Legally there was no such thing as the rape of a slave woman by a white man (Clinton, pg.13).
... by their masters. Women were abused by their master, physically, sexually, and mentally, while men were mostly abused physically and mentally. Many slave women suffered ... her saying, 'Move faster, you black gip!' at the same time giving them a blow with the cowskin over the head ... the marks visible for a long time" (70). Men and women alike were physically abused by their masters, deserving or not. Not ...
Sexual abuse among young slave girls, especially those, who had worked within the big house, was a crime of which many slaves complained. Records of the Freedman?s Bureau indicate that white men were slow to break the habit if abusing black women. ?Slave breeding was not uncommon on the plantation. Slaves hated when masters? attempt to control mating by matching up couples. Some masters rented or borrowed men for stud service, subjecting their female slaves to forced breeding or rape. The male slaves that were used were sometimes referred to as ?travelin? niggers,? ?stockmen,? or ?breedin? niggers.? These were not the only ways masters attempted to control reproduction of slaves. Slave women were expected to reproduce as frequently as possible. If they fail to give birth they might be sold. Barren women were shunned by the community and punished by their owners. All of these factors impaired slave sexuality and crippled the stability of the traditional family (Clinton, pg. 14).
Evidence from both blacks and whites indicates that forced interracial sex was more common than slave breeding was. Blacks were reluctant to discuss such matters, especially with racial and sexual factors inhibiting responses. Former slave, Harry McMillan, said that although most were church members, girls were more likely to succumb to sexual temptation than were boys. McMillan also said, ?I remember masters who kept one girl steady, others who maintained sometimes two on different places, regardless of whether they were married or unencumbered by white wives. ?If they could get it on their own place it was easier, but they would go wherever they could get it. It demonstrates that, as a rule, white males in slave society were at no liberty to exploit slave women, despite family or Christian obligations to the contrary (Clinton pg.14).? White men and enslaved women did form long-term liaisons, which may not have been founded on mutual feelings but often grew into relationships that demonstrated fidelity and devotion. Records show that not all black female-white male liaisons were maintained or even initiated by brute force. Owner-slave liaisons not only caused havoc within the black family; they created violence and resentment among members of white families as well. Lacking the power to prevent sexual activities between male owners and slaves, white women on plantations struggle to discourage sons, brothers, and conceal marital infidelities. The jealousy and hatred many white women harbored for the slave women to whom their husbands were attached were a legend within the Old South (Clinton, pg. 19).
... wasn't "right' for a black man / woman to be earning the same amount as a white man / woman . The black men and women of the late 1800's ... they would be almost as good as the white people. Financially, those black men and women would never be able to support themselves. The ... and get paid. If that black man or woman did get the chance to work for pay at a white man's factory, he / she ...
White women uniformly scorned black women?s physical appearance. Complaining about the ?unattractiveness? of black women was an unconscious defense mechanism against the ?attraction? many white men acted upon within southern society. Travelers, observers, court records, and slave narratives all testify to the hostility many white women felt toward black concubines. They felt as if they were at the mercy of white men (Clinton pg. 19).
Some of the plantation matrons would beg their husbands? fathers for assistance, and others might look to their own parents for comfort, but generally women were expected to turn a blind eye. If a man abused his privilege by flaunting an affair, a wife might demand that the slave be sold. If her husband refused, she could petition for divorce, citing infidelity as legal grounds for dissolution (Clinton pg. 23).
These sexual liaisons caused major conflict between the black women and white women. It stirred up conflict and resentment in the cabins and provoked equal disharmony among members of the white family(Autobiography of a Female Slave, pg.12) .
The presence of a slave concubine and, secondarily, her bastard children promoted conflict within the plantation household. Most of the white women lashed out at the helpless victims – the slave women. Blacks confirm that mistresses attempted to enforce Christian principles and to deal with morally with a very brutal dehumanizing system. Former slave James Curry said, ?I could relate many instance of extreme cruelty practised upon plantations in our neighborhood, instances of woman laying heavy stripes upon the back of woman, even under circumstances which should have removed every feeling but that of sympathy from the heart of woman, and, which was sometimes attended with effects most shocking.? The problems of white women pale in comparison to those that plagued slave women on white households and black women within southern society. In some cases the anguish and frustration of white women compounded black women?s difficulties, resulting in physical and emotional abuse of slave mothers and children. They both did share the fact that they were both at the mercy of the male will. The black female?s experiences in slavery differed from the males’ and to ignore that difference would be to misunderstand the nature of slavery. The bonds of a female slave were two-fold, linking her both to an interracial community of women and setting her apart as a female in a white, patriarchal society. Black women had an opportunity for a more normal life than did black men because they were less desirable purchases. Because black woman outnumbered the men, it was easier for women to form families.
... College, found some very interesting results. The number of woman-owned family businesses has increased 37 percent over the last five ... age were employed; 66 percent of all black women and 68 percent of all Hispanic women were in the labor force. Some ... , but instead the grinding poverty that wreaks devastation on everybody: men, women and children. His argument, however, lacks persistency. The issue ...
Several factors though complicated a black woman?s search for a partner. The dispersed patterns of ownership meant few black women lived in a quarter or with other blacks. Initially, blacks and especially black women, were scattered singly or in a small groups among those families who owned slaves. Over one-third of the families owned some slaves or rented them. No family before 1744 paid taxes on more than six blacks over age sixteen. Before 1744 only two or three families owned enough slaves to have both males and females. Thus, black women had to search for mates on nearby farms.
Furthermore many black women lived very short lives especially in Manakin. Sometimes they would seem to disappear. The French community may have affected slave-naming patterns. Manakin whites had frustratingly few names, especially among women. Nine women?s names , account for over 90 percent of the more than 600 white women associated with the Manakin community before 1776. While both black women and white women drew their names from a much smaller pool than did men, the pool of black names had a diversity to begin with only eventually matched by white families who added new names their intermarriages. That black women shared the same names more frequently than black men parallels the pattern of the white community. Slave names were more diminutive of white names, for example Betty for Elizabeth. White women also were known by diminutive names such as Sally, Patsy, and Nancy. Diminutives were share by both black and white women. Owners distinguished between black and white female names by changing the form of their names or choosing names for slaves not used by whites.
... heire child, or sold them off. The white woman seldom ly worked away from home, but the slave woman had been taken away from her family ... , Abena 185). Not only does White men and women put down The Black woman, Black men also put down the Black Woman. In Richard Wrights Native Son ...
Control over who would name the slave was an indicator of the power of the relationship that existed between the owner and the slave. Childbirth is an experience that women of all races can experience, but are kept separate. Pregnancy, childbearing, and nursing were all common activities taking place on the plantations. White women mad childbirth a community event, accompanied with the rituals and support by other women, and that these rituals of lying-in were shared with black women. The risks of childbirth were greater for black women than white women. Although they may have participated in the rituals surrounding childbirth, black women were the center of attention less frequently because they had fewer children; moreover participation in this woman?s culture required them to abandon some of their African traditions. Black women had fewer children per month than white women did. Black women usually conceived between the months of May through October. White conceptions were heavy in the fall and early spring and lowest in the fall. Blacks were lowest in the deep winter. Black women were in the later stages of pregnancy during the heavy labor season of spring planting.
Surely this affected their health. The work patterns of black women fostered the high death rate among their children by exhausting mothers and making infant care difficult. White women expected their children to survive through adulthood. Black women did not. Slaves and owners in both of these areas preferred daytime arrangements for slave infant care that kept mothers and infants close to one another, because infants did not thrive when deprived of a mother?s breast in the days before sterilization made bottle feeding practical. Keeping nursing mothers from their babies was the most practical solution to the problem of maintaining the mother?s productivity while meeting the nutritional needs of the infant. Slave infants who fed regularly at the breast of their white mistresses were uncommon but not unknown. The need for a wet nurse by the white family put an additional strain on a breastfeeding mother, who might find herself nursing another child in addition to her own (African American Negro, Allen Weinstein, pg.89).
... want it to be, regardless if they are black, white, purple, or green. People have also stereotyped ... many young white kids look to the black culture for insight on how to be cool Young children in ... taking sides with either the Simpson or Kidman family based on their own race. Larry Fisher captured ... the street would be considered poor and homeless. Women that dress in tight clothes or short skirts ...
Work both separated and brought black women together with whites. In some areas, white women were not counted in figuring the tithes. They only appeared on the tithe list when widowed with slaves or male children sixteen-years-old or older. On the other hand, black women were counted. It is easier to trace black women in the community because they are listed on the tithe year to year than it is to do so for white women. Eventually in 1769, free black women received the same exemption as white women, but slave women remained a part of the tithe. In other words, black women were considered part of the agricultural labor force in a way white women were not. White women seldom worked away from home, black women sometimes did Slave rentals kept the labor supply flexible, cut cost for care by owners, and provided an income for widows and orphans. Women slaves were hired out more frequently than men. Thus black women might be separated from family and friends in order to secure the income that allowed a white woman to remain on the family farm. Black women worked with white women in the production of cloth on small farms, thus providing another way in which a community of women cut across racial lines.
Through churches, slave women expressed their sense of self-worth and personhood. Slave women appeared mostly in Methodist churches, but usually are seen through the filter of white clergymen. These men did not hold some Anglo-American prejudices about black women. Minister?s used phrases like ?he speaks well for a Negro.? White minister also believed that a ?godly? family was male-headed and that women are the weaker sex. There is no evidence that early Methodist preachers ever spoke publicly against sexual abuse and rape of slave women by white men. It is said that Methodist preachers freed more women than men. Some women were free by Methodist owners outright. Others were freed after a period of service in which Methodist owners recouped their expenses. The Methodist preachers rarely blamed the slave women for their actions or appearance. When ministers commented on inadequate slave dress, they faulted slave owners for maltreatment (Discovering the Women in Slavery, Patricia Morton, pg. 204).
... slaves to do the work. White women had such a better life than any of the blacks including the slaves of the south, and the blacks ... a case saying that white women had things in common with slaves. The physical treatment between slaves and white women should be more than ... Separate and unequal: Blacks and White women. Many may say that blacks and white women had more in common than people thought they ...
Black women offered themselves and children for baptism, and a few were married by a church. Black women gave money to the church, even those who only had a little to give. The church consoled black women in illness and suffering. Slave and free black women praised, shouted, and testified in love feasts, services and classes. Although black women frequently prayed in public, there is no evidence that they ever lead a congregation. Most free black and slave women were denied leadership roles in the church from the outside in (Bernard pg.56).
Slave owners recognized that black families existed, the value of slaves as property meant that black family stability was tied to the life cycle of their owners. In a way they incorporated the mother of the black family into their family. This is what was called a ?mammy.? The word ?mammy? evokes strong and ambiguous feelings, especially in it?s racial overtones and implications and the confusing message of female sexuality and motherhood. The ?mammy? in contrast to the stereotype of the ?loose? young black woman, was represented as a sexual nonthreatening older black woman in intimate contact with white children and part of the white families. Her success in mothering white children implies neglect on the part of the white mother who used a black ?mammy? to care for her children. The relationship between the ?mammy? and the children was very strong. The white children were very devoted to her. They cared for her when she got old and after slavery times. Many former slave women had had the experience of assisting in the care of the white children of their masters while they were children or teenagers themselves (Southern Women, Bernhard, Brandon, Fox-Genovese, and Perdue, pg.89).
Although it seems that the black slave women and the white women kept themselves distant from each other, they really were not. They sometimes worked together and even nursed the other?s child. The black slave even took care of her children and was called what we know today as a ?mammy.? Not everyone was against slaves and believed in slavery. The Methodist church supported them in many ways (Perdue pg. 97).
Bernhard, Virginia. Southern Women. University if Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri 65201,1992. Catherine Clinton. Women and the Family in a Slave Society. Garland Publishing Inc., New York & London, 1989. Morton, Patricia. Discovering the Women in Slavery. The University of Georgia Press, 1996. Weinstein, Allen. American Negro Slavery. New York Oxford University Press, 1979. Autobiography of a female Slave. Mnemosyne Publishing Company Inc., 1969