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Historical Essay on Women and Slavery

3 pages
791 words
Middlebury College
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Since time immemorial female slaves were diminished in history. During the 19th-century slave women were described as caregivers and mother, though they were subjected to abuse by their white slaves. The following paper will look at the topic will involve the history of women slavery, the role of women during the trans-Atlantic trade.

Chronology of Slave

The 15th century marked the beginning of Trans-Atlantic trade, soon after the Portuguese explored and exploited the West Africa. Slavery began with the small numbers of slaver; however, its demand grew when there was the development of plantation on the newly colonized American mainland and the Caribbean island which demanded a lot of labor. In 1619, the first lot of African saves arrived at North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia, and they were to work on the plantation of crops such as sugarcane coffee, cocoa, and cotton, rice and tobacco. Also, some worked at the homes of their masters and at the gold and silver mining. The abolishment of slavery in the United States took series of steps, first it was on January 31, 1865, when the Congress passed the law on the 13th amendment on slave abolishment, which was later on approved on December 6, 1865, stating that: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Oppression Women Slave Face

It is known that the slave owners did not differentiate between the women and men while doing labor division. Most of the women were assigned to work together with their men, but some of them worked in the house. Although, the female slaves who were assigned to work in the household faced several episodes of cruelty, aggression, and hostility, which was characterized by beatings and savage rape. As stated by Douglas, who was a witness an overseer beating of women: " he would whip her to make her scream, and whip her to make her hush; and not until overcome by fatigue, would he cease to swing the blood-clotted cowskin" (42). However,

Only by experience can anyone realize how deep, and dark, and foul is that pit of abominations. (Jacobs, 120). The words were said by Harriet Jacobs, also referred to as Linda Brent, where she gave her account as a female slave. By judging on her experience, women slave experiences were far worse compared to that of men. Though he did not account on whether black slave men had it easy during the slave periods. The duties that the black women slaves endured were much oppressing compared to those of men; their duties constituted two parts. First, they had to be household servants, whereby their duties were, cooking, cleaning, caring for the white children among other household duties. At the same time, slave women were required to work on the fields also together with men, whereby their duties included, picking cotton, feeding animals, cleaning outside and more others.

The reading by Sara Evans stated that: At the same time, young slave women, especially household servants and mulattos, were always vulnerable to sexual abuse by whites, something from which no family could protect them. (Evans, 109). While working both in the fields and in the house, the female slaves were subjected to rape, and they were punished in case they try to resist having sexual affair with their masters.

Contribution made by the Female Slaves

There were several black women slaves who championed for the abolition of slavery, some of the women's rights advocates include Stanton, Mott, and Kelley who learned of the political skills before establishing the abolition movement. Women worked together with men to liberate themselves from the chains of slavery. Most of us have heard about the Underground Railroad, first of all that term refers to the path that was used by the slaves that passed via the farmhouse to storage sheds, from cellars to barns destined to the safe place in the North. One of the noble abolished u the slave history is the slave known Harriet Tubman. Her work is renown due to her knowledge and contribution of the Underground Railroad and she put her life in danger to assist and rescue 300 slaves.

To sum up, the paper has effectively demonstrated the chronology of slave, how women were oppressed as a slave as well as their contribution towards the abolition of slavery. The slaves came from Africa, where they were taken from unto the plantation to work for the whites. Black slavery was inhuman, but the experience that the women had gone through was hell. Women were overworked by being forced to work on both at the plantation and at the house, their chores were interrupted by their adulterous men who took advantage of them and violated.

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