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practically inescapable mark of degradation and bondage. _________________ Source: Gary Nash, The American People, (New York: Harper and Row, 1986), p. 63.
AFRICANS BECOME AFRICAN AMERICANSIn the following account historian Allan Kulikoff describes the transformation of African culture into African American culture in the 18th Century Chesapeake colonies and suggests examples of the various African, and in rare instances, European cultural traits that would eventually comprise the new "creole" culture once native-born slaves outnumbered African arrivals.__________________________________________________________________________ Newly enslaved Africans possessed a few building blocks for a new social order under slavery. Many did share a similar ethnic identity. About half the African arrivals at Port York during two periods of heavy immigration were Ibos, Ibibios, Efkins, and Mokos from Nigeria, and another fifth came from various tribes in Angola. From 1718 to 1726, 60 percent came from the Bight of Biafra (the Ibo area); between 1728 and 1739, 85 percent were imported from Biafra or Angola. Most new slaves spoke similar languages, lived under the same climate, cultivated similar crops, and shared comparable kinship systems. When they arrived in the Chesapeake, they may have combined common threads in their cultures into new Afro-American structures. Once they entered the plantation world, African immigrants had to begin to cope with their status....When they reached their new homes, Africans were immediately put to work making tobacco. Most were broken in on the most routine tasks of production. Nearly two-thirds of them arrived between June and August, when the tobacco plants had already been moved from seedbeds and were growing rapidly. The new slaves' first task was weeding between the rows of plants with hands, axes, or hoes. These jobs were similar to those that Ibos and other Africans had used in growing other crops in their native lands. After a month or two of such labor, slaves could be instructed in the more difficult task of harvesting....Not only were Africans forced to work for harsh masters in a strange land but masters usually stripped them of their names, their last personal possession. Africans imbued names with great meaning, and naming often followed a ceremony at birth or coming of age....Masters in the Chesapeake, without ceremony, forced Africans to adopt English names and required that they be used in daily exchanges between whites and blacks. At least four-fifths of African youths age ten to fifteen, whose ages and names were recorded in York and Lancaster counties at the peak of the slave trade, received English names. Only 3 percent of these 465 slaves kept African names. Six maintained day names, used in many African communities to indicate the day of birth: four were Cuffy (male name for "Friday"), one was Jacko, (Quacko, male name for "Wednesday"), and one Juba (female name for "Monday"). Eighty slaves, however, might have persuaded their masters to allow them to retain Anglicized versions of African names. Three names were especially common. Twenty-four boys were named Jack, an English version of Quacko, and