Assignment 2

  1. Region of the US- Slaves were mostly present in the American south, while they still existed, they were not nearly as prevalent in the north. However african americans were treated as second class no matter where they lived. Bibb backed up my thoughts on this because he knew even the north wouldn’t be much better than the south, so he set out for Canada.
  2. Place slaves lived and worked- Slaves mostly lived on giant plantations in really cramped and warm buildings, however some slaves worked in the big house on the plantation or in other areas of the south.  Garey-Jones talked about his life as a slave and I now know that they were given a little more freedom than I had originally thought.  They were allowed to walk around town and go in the stores if they had money to buy something. Bibb said some nights he would sleep without anything covering him
  3. Type of labor slaves performed- They would do hard labor such as harvesting crops, cooking food for the slavers, and running errands. Garey-Jones said slaves would wait on their masters and do little jobs like, starting fires and looking for eggs and anything else that was asked of them. Bibb would have to rub the master’s feet, and fan her to keep her cool while she slept and other demeaning jobs of this nature.
  4. Work conditions or rhythms- Hot, unsafe, non-stop work.  If a slave was caught slacking off they would be whipped.  Slaves would work all day in the summer with no gloves and the cotton would cut their hands and during the winter wouldn’t have socks. Bibb was constantly whipped and beaten as a slave.
  5. Food, clothing, shelter-Raggedy clothes and most probably didn’t even have shoes.  The food was probably the bare minimum to just fill them up and the houses broken down. Garey-Jones said that he would eat all types of vegetables and fruits.  They only had one shirt to wear during the summer and only a little bit of wool in their coats during the winter. Bibb was almost always starving and wearing only enough clothes to cover his privates.
  6. Family life-They were able to find people they liked and their families were the only things that could get them up in the morning.  Some families would get sold into different plantations and be split up. Bibb said slaves rarely ever get to know their fathers, because they are sold to another owner before the child is born.
  7. Education or training- No education at all except for some of the house slaves and not really any training except from their parents on how to do the work. A few slaves were able to read and write and they were looked up to by the other slaves.  No books or paper of any kind is allowed at some plantations because slavers want to keep the slaves illiterate.
  8. Religion-They were religious and would used that to boost their moral. The few slaves that could read and write would lead the preaching and they would baptize kids by dunking them in the creek.  From what Bibb talked about it sounded like most slaves were religious and wanted to be able to practice their religion.
  9. Freedoms , liberties, rights- Slaves were not given any freedoms, liberties or rights. Garey-Jones said the slaves would get christmas and New Year’s day off of working. Bibb was treated about as bad and inhuman as possible
  10. Slave views of whites-Slaves most likely hated their owners and had a general dislike for white people. Garey-Jones talks about how fair his masters were and how he would take care of any sick slave. Like anything in the world, you can’t talk about a group of people like they’re all the same and have the same opinion.  Many slaves hated white people for what they were doing to them, and many slaves were thankful of their masters because they were kept so illiterate that they had no where else to go.
  11. Slaves’ views of slavery and freedom- Slaves probably hated slavery but were uneasy about what they would do once they were set free. Garey-Jones said a lot of the slaves were crying when their master was killed in the war and that the people who freed them showed up, they just stole everything. Many slaves just wanted to have basic human rights and to be free people.
  12. The source of your understanding of slavery- I have formed these opinions from high school history classes, books and movies that have related to the topic. I cannot wait to keep reading about how slavery actually was and how the war was able to completely end it.


From doing these two readings I learned that although I had a solid understanding of slavery and what African Americans went through, there is still a lot more I can learn. There are many different opinions of slaves that had to go through these hard times and many different living and working conditions. Some slave owners showed a tiny bit of compassion to their slaves and would give them days off or make sure they were well fed, while others would beat and starve and provide terrible conditions for slaves. These conditions are what brought about the opinions of the slaves, Bibb wanted to leave and wasn’t scared of running away because he would be whipped but, because he knew he would keep being whipped if he never ran away.

6 thoughts on “Assignment 2”

  1. You pointed out that African Americans would be treated as second class even in the north. It surprised me that they wouldn’t be treated as equal even in the north. I think this knowledge must have made life feel very hopeless for slaves; not only were they being forced to work but even if they were free they wouldn’t have the same liberty as white Americans.

  2. I would have to agree that I also felt as if I had a strong grasp on slavery but after doing this assignment I learned there is much more I can learn. Slavery really differed from person to person and there were many factors that contributed to their overall experiences.

  3. Like you I feel like I had a solid understanding of slavery. In reading these personal accounts I also discovered that I had more questions. With the large spread in treatment of slaves I wonder what the motivation and belief system was for each of these different slave holders. On top of that it makes me wonder how these “nicer” slave owners justified having slaves.

  4. During my reading of the textbook, I still can’t believe how much racist rhetoric and ideology the South leaned on in order to justify slavery. We’ve always been taught about the horrors of bondage, but the mindset that normalized it is just as horrific to me, as many people truly believed God had created the black man to serve the white. With that in mind, it is refreshing to read these accounts that recall masters who treated their slaves well, even if that relationship was inherently one-sided.

  5. I noticed that most of our initial assumptions about the ideas of slavery were the same. I think it is an interesting point that you made that most slaves just wanted basic human rights. This struck a chord with me as I had never really thought that slaves weren’t arguing for anything grand or over the top but just the basic freedoms granted to other humans. It puts into perspective that slaves really just wanted to be treated as somewhat of a human being. I also found it interesting however how many slaves talked about their owners in a positive nature rather than the resentful nature I assumed. Your slave narrative furthered this point that some slaves were thankful for what their owners provided for them.

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