Slavery in America



The slaves were. African/black and were shipped over in the 60s to North America and there were lots in South America.

Early in the seventeenth century, a Dutch ship loaded with African slaves introduced a solution—and a new problem—to the New World. Slaves were most economical on large farms where labor-intensive cash crops, such as tobacco, could be grown.

Families in slavery and a fascinating fact

Slave marriages and family ties were not recognized by American law. Any owner was free to sell husbands from wives, parents from children, and brothers from sisters. Many large slaveholders had numerous plantations and frequently shifted slaves, splitting families in the process.

The most conservative estimates indicate that at least 10 to 20 percent of slave marriages were destroyed by sale. The sale of children from parents was even more common. As a result of the sale or death of a father or mother, over a third of all slave children grew up in households from which one or both parents were absent.

Fascinating fact

Slavery was officially established in Virginia in 1654, when Anthony Johnson, a black man, convinced a court that his servant (also black) John Casor was his for life. Johnson himself had been brought to Virginia some years earlier as an indentured servant (a person who must work to repay a debt, or on contract for so many years in exchange for food and shelter – image of a contract above) but he saved enough money to buy out the remainder of his contract and that of his wife. The court ruled in Johnson’s favor, and the very first officially state-recognized slave existed in Virginia. Johnson eventually became very wealthy and began importing his own black slaves from Africa, for which he was granted 250 acres (at the time, any person importing a slave would be paid 50 acres per person). Eventually the unfortunate repercussions of this decision would come back to haunt Johnson when his land was confiscated and given to a white man because Johnson “was a Negroe and by consequence an alien.”


The undergroung rail road

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Underground rail road fun facts

Underground Railroad was a term used for a network of people, homes, and hideouts that slaves in the southern United States used to escape to freedom in the Northern United States and Canada.

The Underground Railroad wasn't really a railroad. It was a name given to the way that people escaped. No one is real sure where it originally got its name, but the "underground" part of the name comes from its secrecy and the "railroad" part of the name comes from the way it was used to transport people.

Harriet Tubman

1. Born a slave in Maryland, Tubman escaped to Philadelphia on foot, got a job, settled and then returned to the South 13 times to escort hundreds of people seeking freedom to the North. She boasted she never lost a passenger.

2. Tubman suffered from narcolepsy due to a head injury caused by an angry overseer who was hurling a weight at another slave.

3. Tubman was only 5 feet tall and considered disabled by her owners. Slave holders never dreamed she was the reason so many slaves in their region were able to escape.

4. Tubman was married to a free man when she initially escaped North, fearing she was about to be sold to a plantation in the South. When she returned years later for her husband (after first bringing back siblings and their children) she found he had remarried. So on that trip she found some more slaves seeking freedom to take back with her.

5. When the Fugitive Slave law passed in 1850 that required Northern states to return fugitives to the South, she led people all the way to Canada.

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Fun facts about slavery music

One reportedly coded song of the Underground Railroad is "Follow the Drinkin' Gourd". The song's title is said to refer to the star formation (anasterism) known as the Big Dipper. The pointer stars of the Big Dipper align with the North Star. In this song the repeated line "Follow the Drinkin' Gourd" is thus often interpreted as instructions to escaping slaves to travel north by following the North Star, leading them to the northern states, Canada, and freedom: The song ostensibly encodes escape instructions and a map from Mobile, Alabama up the Tombigbee River, over the divide to the Tennessee River, then downriver to where the Tennessee and Ohio rivers meet in Paducah, Kentucky. [1]

Matthaeus Merian, Ezekiel's "chariot vision", (1593-1650)

Another song with a reportedly secret meaning is "Now Let Me Fly" [2] which references the biblical story of Ezekiel's Wheels. [3] The song talks mostly of a promised land. This song might have boosted the morale and spirit of the slaves, giving them hope that there was a place waiting that was better than where they were.

Why did slaves sing songs and what songs

Slaves sang songs as a means to remember their homelands, to worship and also to talk in code so that the slave owners would not understand. Some of the songs sung by slaves were code for ways to flee the plantations where they worked.

songs that the slaves sung were known as innocent spirituals and were more than simple hymns of endurance and a belief in a better afterlife The slaves would sing words which to many had no meaning, but which were full of meaning to themselves. There were attempts to stop slaves from continuing with African religious rituals and drums were banned.