Daily Life of African American Slaves in the Antebellum South, 1st Edition

  • Paul E. Teed
  • Melissa Ladd Teed
  • Published By:
  • ISBN-10: 1440863253
  • ISBN-13: 9781440863257
  • DDC: 306.362097
  • 248 Pages | eBook
  • Original Copyright 2020 | Published/Released September 2020
  • This publication's content originally published in print form: 2020

  • Price:  Sign in for price



In their daily struggles to forge lives of dignity and meaning within an inhuman system, slaves in the Antebellum South demonstrated creativity, resilience, and an insatiable desire to be free. This title focuses on their struggles to create lives of meaning and dignity within a brutal and repressive system. It provides a comprehensive examination of the institution of slavery from the perspective of the slaves themselves. Readers can explore the family life, religious beliefs, political activities, intellectual aspirations, material possessions, and recreational pursuits of enslaved people. The volume shows that enslaved people were tightly constrained by the harsh realities of the oppressive system under which they lived but that they found ways to forge lives of their own. It synthesizes the latest and best literature on slavery and gives readers the opportunity to examine history through the lens of daily life using primary source documents created by slaves or former slaves.

Table of Contents

Front Cover.
Half Title Page.
Other Frontmatter.
Title Page.
Copyright Page.
Timeline of Events.
Economic Life.
1: The Planters' Economy.
2: The Agricultural Cycle.
3: The Chesapeake and Tobacco.
4: Cotton.
5: Sugar.
6: Rice.
7: Slave Hiring.
8: Reproduction and the “Fancy Trade”.
9: Domestic Work.
10: Independent Production.
11: Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave (1853).
Domestic Life.
12: The Slave Trade.
13: Bonds of Affection.
14: Courtship and Marriage.
15: Pregnancy and Childbirth.
16: Parenting Enslaved Children.
17: Henry Brown, Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown (1851).
Material Life.
18: Food.
19: Slave Quarters.
20: Clothing.
21: Interview with Tempie Cummins (1937) and Charles Ball, Slavery in the United States (1837).
Religious Life.
22: The African Spiritual Legacy.
23: Christianity and Conversion.
24: Origins of the Black Church.
25: Religion and Daily Life.
26: Religion and Rebellion.
27: Peter Randolph, Sketches of Slave Life: Or, Illustrations of the “Peculiar Institution” (1855).
Political Life.
28: Paternalism: The Ideology of Plantation Government.
29: The Politics of Fieldwork.
30: The Politics of the Big House.
31: Disrupting the Plantation Hierarchy.
32: Enslaved People and American Politics.
33: Louis Hughes, Thirty Years a Slave: From Bondage to Freedom (1896).
Intellectual Life.
34: Slavery and Literacy in the Antebellum South.
35: The Meanings of Literacy.
36: Slave Narratives: Ex-Slaves as Organic Intellectuals.
37: Folk Medicine: Healing Knowledge in the Slave Community.
38: Thomas Jones, the Experience of Thomas H. Jones, Who Was a Slave for Forty-Three Years (1862).
Recreational Life.
39: Music.
40: Dancing.
41: Holidays and Festivities.
42: Children's Games.
43: Storytelling.
44: William Wells Brown, My Southern Home (1880).
About the Authors.