Slave Investigation

Time Frame 1845-1850+ By: Lacie & Gabby

Block A

How Many Slaves Were In America?

After our research, we found out that their was approximately 3,200,600 slaves that were in america in the 1850's.

Slave Life: Anita Ross, 13 years old

I just wanted you to get a little bit familiar with how a slave's day was. I also am going to add a couple journal entry's from this slave's journal.

March 12th, 1849

I have been thinking a lot of my escape. I am worried that somewhere along the way, I will be caught, and sent back to my Master. I do not want this. Going back would mean a severe beating, and my back would be even more marked up than it already is. No, I need to have this planned out carefully before I leave. I will travel only at night, and hide during the day. I must make no mistakes. My future is at stake.

March 15th, 1849

I have everything planned; there are new whispers of when “Moses” is coming. She is said to be the person to travel with, when going to your freedom. I will sneak out and run for as long as I can, until I reach the graveyard, where Moses and her other “passengers” will be meeting me. I am afraid. I do not want anyone to see me. This will be one of the riskiest parts of my trip. I do not know if I am prepared, but I must go. This is my only chance.

March 18th, 1849

I am now, officially, a fugitive slave. I am travelling with Moses (she has said her actual name is Harriet Tubman) and all the other passengers (runaway slaves) she has with her. Everything about this organization- The Underground Railroad- is secretive. Everything is spoken in code, and all the coded words have to do with a railroad. The fugitive slaves- like me- are called passengers, Moses is a “conductor”, one who leads us to our freedom. Those who make routes that we travel on, are called agents, safe houses where we are hidden and sheltered are known as stations. A terminal is a city or town where we can go for help, if needed, during our journey. One, who owns a station, is called a stationmaster. A brakeman helps runaways start new lives, whether in Canada or a free state. I am overjoyed to see all of the people who are risking being fined, and put in jail, just to help those who desperately need it.

How Many Slaves Were in Each State?

Well most of the northern states were free, but the south however was not.

  • Alabama had 342,844
  • Arkansas had 47,100
  • Delaware had 2,290
  • Florida had 39,310
  • Georgia had 381,682
  • Kentucky had 210,981
  • Louisiana had 20,044,809
  • Maryland had 90,360
  • Mississippi had 309,878
  • Missouri had 87,422
  • New Jersey had 236
  • North Carolina had 288,548
  • South Carolina had 384,984
  • Tennessee had 239,459
  • Texas had 58,161
  • Virginia had 472,528
  • Wisconsin had 4

Interesting Facts About Slaves

  • Americas first slave owner was a black man
  • Less then 5 percent of pre-Civil War American families actually had slaves
  • Many free black people owned black slaves; in fact, in numbers disproportionate to their representation in society at large.
  • Ancient Greeks and Romans often bought slaves with salt
  • Parts of the White House was built by slaves
  • When slaves were freed from the USA, some went back to Africa, and promptly enslaved the native Africans based on the plantation methods they learned in the US

What Would A Slave Cost?

  • Average cost of a slave (of any age, sex, or condition) in 1850 = $ 400 ($11,300 in 2009 dollars)
  • Cost of a prime field hand (18-30 year-old man) in 1850 = $ 1,200 ($34,000 in 2009 dollars
  • Cost of a skilled slave (e.g. a blacksmith) in 1850 = $ 2,000 ($56,700 in 2009 dollars)

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