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The Roles of Male and Female Slaves In Pre-Civil-War Southern America Introduction Slavery was a very common phenomenon in the southern States’ before the civil war. The slaves were not allowed to practice their free will let alone freedom of expression or basic rights such as religion and social relations. According to the law of that era, the slaves were commodities that could be sold and purchased in the market.

Slavery for Females There were a couple of roles and jobs that were exclusive to female slaves. Similarly there were jobs dedicated for the male slaves, while some jobs were shared between both. Since the time female slaves were bought on slave ships, they were not allowed to go below the deck, and were ordered to walk around on the deck and the quarterdeck without any bounds or shackles. This was to allow easier access to these women for sexual desires. The women that seemed most fertile were priced the highest. A regular female slave would be priced at a couple hundred dollars. According to Thomas Jefferson, a woman that could give birth every two years would have been more profitable than the best man on the farm. He said so to signify that a woman can create more slaves and save the capital cost. Female slaves either did labor or served as concubines for male slaves. Women would mostly work on the fields but some slaves would also become nurses, midwives, tailors and house cooks, etc. Women were also responsible to raise the children. Pregnant women were treated better than other slaves for obvious reasons. Women would retire at the age of 65 to 70 years. The owner would then either free the slave or provide for her for the rest of her life. At times, women would serve at plantations even after 70. They would become nurses or midwives.

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Slavery for Men Men, because of their physical stamina were suppressed even more than the women and were kept in bondage at all times. When they were bought in the slave ships, they were kept tied up below the deck. The men unlike women were prized for their health, strength and stamina and were priced somewhere around a thousand or two thousand dollars on average. Their jobs mostly comprised of hard labor. Few lucky ones became blacksmiths, carpenters, bricklayers, and engineers and other skilled artisans. These people had more mobility chances than other slaves. Because of their skills, they were able to earn money and then eventually purchase their freedom. The men also retired at 65-70 years. Within slavery, the African American men could not protect their spouse and therefore their masculinity was suppressed, as the women were no longer dependent on the men. The male slaves even had to see as their masters beat, whip and raped their wives. This only added to the humiliation, because if they tried to defend their women, they might themselves be whipped or even be separated from their wives.

Source: http://www.researchomatic.com/how-and-why-female-slavery-differed-from-male-slavery-inthe-american-south-143427.html 2|Page

The Roles of Male and Female Slaves In Pre-Civil-War Southern America  

Slavery was a very common phenomenon in the southern States’ before the civil war. The slaves were not allowed to practice their free will l...

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