Civil War Times

Field Slaves

Field slaves had a rough life. They work from sunrise to sunset; during the harvest season, the field slaves worked 18 hour days. They commonly picked cotton, sugar, rice, and tobacco. Out in the field, they were monitored by the overseer. The overseer made sure the slaves were working at their fullest throughout the day. The field slaves were whipped by the overseer if their work was slowing down or they stopped to take a break. Even pregnant women had to keep working on the field until the birth of her child. Field slaves were given the bare minimum for clothes. They got one pair of summer clothes and one pair of winter clothes. The most usual crop slaves were forced to pick was cotton. The cotton bushes often cut their hands, and the slaves had to keep working despite the bleeding. Almost all field slaves worked until sundown or death.
The living quarters of the field slaves were terrible to say the least. They lived in tiny huts with dirt as the floor. The huts provided no protection from the weather elements and the slaves wrapped themselves in rough blankets to stay warm in the winter. The field slaves lived in one-room cabins with their whole family. They slept on mattresses stuffed with straw. The cabins roofs were usually leaky, and in the winter they were filled with smoke from the fireplaces. The field slaves were given whatever food their master wanted to give them, and they made dishes out of whatever the could find.
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House Slaves

House slaves often had easier lives than the field slaves. They worked in the master's house, which they called the "big house". They were cooks, maids, servants, and friends for the master's children. The cooks made all meals and ordered all the food. Even master's wife did not mess with the cook. The cooks job was the hardest job of the house slave, and they often stole food from their master. House slaves were dressed better and wore decent clothes. Sometimes they had better cottages that were closer to the “big house." House slaves thought they were better than the field slaves. Master's family often thought of house slaves as part of their family although they did not think they were equal. House slaves sometimes left plantations to go with their masters and knew more than the field slaves. Masters were not allowed to teach slaves how to read, but many house slaves learned how to read because master's children taught them or they heard others reading. Mammies were responsible for raising master's children and became very important and had a lot of power. The house slaves listened to their masters conversations to help the field slaves by telling the who will be sold, kept, and who is slaking off.
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Hope in the Hard Times

Even though slaves had a hard time during the life of a slave, they still had hope. The slaves were allowed to have a family, but the mother and the father might get separated or the child may be separated. When Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves in the south were "freed" but many people were still racist about slavery.
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For all Slaves

All slaves endured physical, and mental punishments. The most common type of punishment was being whipped. If they ran away, the overseer sent dogs to go find him/her and sometimes let the dog finish them off. Families were torn apart, and they were forced to forget their names and their past. Some slaves tried to choke themselves on dust and dirt to kill themselves instead of working to death.


In the south, they believed having slaves was part of the states rights. Many people think that the civil war was only on the fact of slavery. The Civil War was on States Rights which consisted of slavery and other things. In the south, the people believed they had the right to continue slavery while the people who live in the north believe slavery was wrong and that the U.S should be banned.


As a slave, I believe that all men are created equal. Even though our skin color is different, we are just like anyone else. Skin shouldn't make a difference between workinging to death and freedom. Our owners work us too hard and many of my friends have been killed and sold. We endure physical and mental pain. They whip us every time we do something wrong or too slow



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Trinity V.