A former slave during the antebellum era, Lewis Clarke, said, "How would you like to see your sisters, and your wives, and your daughter, completely, teetotally, and altogether, in the power of the master. - You can picture to yourselves a little, how you would feel; but oh, if I could tell you!" Blacks during the time of slavery saw the many different experiences women had to go through, from "breeding" slaves to working in the fields (Woman and the Family in a slave society, Catherine Clinton, pg.13). Many of times, masters would send for the younger female slaves around the ages of 13 and older. At this time he would then rape her. This was not uncommon to happen. Madison Jefferson, another emancipated slave, said, "Women who refused to submit to the brutal desires of their owners, are repeatedly whipt to subdue their virtuous repugnance, and in most instances this hellish practice is but too successful - when it fails, the women are frequently sold off to the south. Living under a social order which deprived them of virtually all means of gaining personal preferment except the granting of sexual favors, there is little doubt that many slave women submitted willingly to the advances of their masters, some of the family, or, overseers, hoping to receive favors in return. Legally there was no such thing as the rape of a slave woman by a white man (Clinton, pg.13). Sexual abuse among young slave girls, especially those, who had worked within the big house, was a crime of which many slaves complained. Records of the Freedman's Bureau indicate that white men were slow to break the habit if abusing black women. "Slave breeding was not uncommon on the plantation. Slaves hated when masters' attempt to control mating by matching up couples. Some masters rented or borrowed men for stud service, subjecting their female slaves to forced breeding or rape. The male slaves that were used were sometimes referred to as "travelin' niggers," "stockmen," or "breedin' niggers." These were not the only ways masters attempted to control reproduction of slaves. Slave women were expected to reproduce as frequently as possible. If they fail to give birth they might be sold. Barren women were shunned by the community and punished by their owners. All of these factors impaired slave sexuality and crippled the stability of the traditional family (Clinton, pg. 14). Evidence from both blacks and whites indicates that forced interracial sex was more common than slave breeding was. Blacks were reluctant to discuss such matters, especially with racial and sexual factors inhibiting responses. Former slave, Harry McMillan, said that although most were church members, girls were more likely to succumb to sexual temptation than were boys. McMillan also said, "I remember masters who kept one girl steady, others who maintained sometimes two on different places, regardless of whether they were married or unencumbered by white wives. ...If they could get it on their own place it was easier, but they would go wherever they could get it. It demonstrates that, as a rule, white males in slave society were at no liberty to exploit slave women, despite family or Christian obligations to the contrary (Clinton pg.14)." White men and enslaved women did form long-term liaisons, which may not have been founded on mutual feelings but often grew into relationships that demonstrated fidelity and devotion. Records show that not all black female-white male liaisons were maintained or even initiated by brute force. Owner-slave liaisons not only caused havoc within the black family; they created violence and resentment among members of white families as well. Lacking the power to prevent sexual activities between male owners and slaves, white women on plantations struggle to discourage sons, brothers, and conceal marital infidelities. The jealousy and hatred many white women harbored for the slave women to whom their husbands were attached were a legend within the Old South (Clinton, pg. 19). White women uniformly scorned black women's physical appearance. Complaining about the "unattractiveness" of black women was an unconscious defense mechanism against the "attraction" many white men acted upon within southern society. Travelers, observers, court records, and slave narratives all testify to the hostility many white women felt toward black concubines. They felt as if they were at the mercy of white men (Clinton pg. 19). Some of the plantation matrons would beg their husban
Quotes talked about in this paper
- McMillan also said, "I remember masters who kept one girl steady, others who maintained sometimes two on different places, regardless of whether they were married or unencumbered by white wives. …If they could get it on their own place it was easier, but they would go wherever they could get it. It demonstrates that, as a rule, white males in slave society were at no liberty to exploit slave women, despite family or Christian obligations to the contrary (Clinton pg.14)." ...
- James Curry said, "I could relate many instance of extreme cruelty practised upon plantations in our neighborhood, instances of woman laying heavy stripes upon the back of woman, even under circumstances which should have removed every feeling but that of sympathy from the heart of woman, and, which was sometimes attended with effects most shocking." ...
- Lewis Clarke, said, "How would you like to see your sisters, and your wives, and your daughter, completely, teetotally, and altogether, in the power of the master. – You can picture to yourselves a little, how you would feel; but oh, if I could tell you!" ...
Names referenced in this research paper
Catherine Clinton, Harry McMillan, Lewis Clarke, Madison Jefferson, her own (African American Negro, James Curry, Sally, Patsy, Fox-Genovese, Patricia Morton, Betty, Elizabeth, Perdue,
Organizations mentioned in this term paper
white family, Freedman’s Bureau, Methodist church,
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Keywords mentioned in this essay
black women, white women, black woman, black and white, black family, free black, the white, the black, owners, black men, Women slaves, slave girls, the black family, the white family, white woman, plantations, community, sexual abuse, experience, Methodist, tithe, rape, family and friends, whites, this woman, mothers, Catherine Clinton, childbirth, Manakin, sexual activities, female sexuality, interracial sex, society, most shocking, family farm, Lewis Clarke, racial, physical appearance, extreme cruelty, many ways, blind eye, heavy labor, James Curry, emotional abuse, preachers, love feasts, Allen Weinstein, labor force, another way, social order,
Blacks During the Time of Slavery. (1969, December 31). In DirectEssays.com. Retrieved 22:06, May 23, 2013, from http://www.directessays.com/viewpaper/79964.html