By Dallas Bogan
Reprinted with Permission from Dallas Bogan.
The following is an article involving the Negro slave in the period of the 1800s. This was an atrocious time in which the Negro suffered at the hands of the plantation owners and, in general, the white population
us that hard labor on plantations offered some Negro slaves opportunities
to discover specific skills, in particularly male slaves. This occasion
required a great deal of direction on them. The greater opportunities
were set in reserve for those slaves who worked off plantations and
farms as laborers in backbreaking industries such as mining, lumbering,
and skilled labor in the towns of cities.
not a locked-in-condition. Strings were attached which had an effect
on slaves who tried to marry and live in the cities. Moreover, "a
house was not a home." Slaves families cold hardly exist in bondage.
A marriage contract was not recognized as law, the circumstances being
a negative response. Children of this marriage were to become the property
of the master and not the parents. This situation was the general condition
Work and clothing provided a role in telling apart a town slave from a rural slave. The rural slave wore a boorish type clothing described as "Negro cloth" and "Negro brogans." Because of the hard labor on the plantations these clothes were mended and re-mended. On the other hand, the urban slave had much better clothes. Not only did he have better clothing; he had clothing set aside for Sundays, which was always a tradition. Many times a city slave was dressed in broadcloth suits, blue coats, bright buttons, and gold chains, the latest style of fashion. This was more than a white man might have expected. The urban slave was quite distinguishable from his rural counterpart. The well-dressed urbanite with his straight posture was often mistaken by the whites as being proud of his master, while an ill-clad slave Negro reflected upon the care and taste of his master. In addition to style of clothing, music and dance helped the Negro slave to express their feelings, a tradition that still lives in America today. Slaves clapped their hands to the rhythm of the music because they were denied any kind of instrument. As a substitute, they played music and danced to the beat of tin buckets and banjos. Bodily movement was implemented into the rhythmic pattern of the music.
Food quantities for the slaves
were more available in the urban communities than in the rural areas.
Both the quantity and quality of food were higher and, just as prominently,
the diet was of a greater variety. Not only were the town slaves clothed
more expensively, they were more elegantly fed than their rural counterparts.
This was expected because many slaves were domestic servants and ate
from their master's kitchen. Even those slaves, who fed elsewhere rather
than their master's home, were better off than country house servants,
and certainly better than field hands. Large corporate owners hired
Negroes on the job and bought food in large volumes. The slaves were
then allowed to eat more proficiently. Furthermore, the Negro chain
gang workers, by law, received wholesome food such as meat, bread, rice
and vegetables. This variation in food given to the urban slaves was
far more nutritious, which explains why they fared better in health
than plantation slaves where food was hardly ever varied.
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