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SlaveryInNorthCarolina - Leonard Gullan AFAM 80 Essay#1...

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Leonard Gullan AFAM 80: Essay #1 10/07/05 Slavery In North Carolina The Birth of slavery in North Carolina can be traced back as early as the year 1584, during the planting of the Raleigh colonies. It wasn’t however, until the Charter of Charles II mid-way through the seventeenth century, that a slavery colony in North Carolina was recognized as the most advantageous way of building an agricultural economy. It was this charter by Charles to the Lords and Proprietors in 1663 that was essentially the opening of the “slave trade floodgates” and the first step to building a system of agriculture that became the backbone of North Carolina’s economy for centuries. In the early days of settlement, during the 17 th and early 18 th century, farms were generally small and farming subsistent. Slaves and masters shared workloads and a mutual respect for one another. As time progressed and North Carolina’s Tobacco, Rice and Naval plantations became more successful, more and more slaves were imported to maximize output. By the year 1790, there were 100,000 slaves in North Carolina (A History of African Americans in North Carolina, p.3). Growing numbers in slave population led to a lessening of liberties, rights and comforts that slaves were legally afforded. Slaves were the property of their masters and did not have the rights to anything, including their children. They were literally imprisoned as they were, as laws forbade them to leave the plantation without a “Ticket or White Servant along with them” (A History of African Americans in North Carolina, p.5). They were almost always
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Leonard Gullan AFAM 80: Essay #1 10/07/05 prevented from learning to read and write for fear that these skills would enhance their ability to conspire and revolt against their masters. Often wracked by malnourishment and lack of rest, slaves were forced to work sixteen to eighteen hour day’s everyday. Slaves were bought and sold on a regular basis which lead to the splitting up of families and retardation of social development within the slave population. Certain slave masters were harsher than others. Some forbade communication between slaves while others rationed only one meal per day. Ultimately, it was the treating of slaves as animals and pieces of property that could be bought and sold at any time, that fueled their resentment towards their masters. Slave narratives, like those of William H. Singleton, Moses Grandy, and Harriet Ann Jacobs help bring to life some of the brutalities and adversities slaves endured in all stages of their lives. In the following paragraphs, I will examine these narratives, for insight into their childhoods, family lives, working lives and how they eventually achieved their freedom.
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