African_Americans_Colonial_Period

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African-Americans : 

African-Americans In The Colonial Period (1526-1763)

Introduction : 

Introduction 17th Century: The plantation system developed in the Chesapeake tobacco country and in the low country of the South. Unfree labor solidifies into a system of slavery based on race. African-Americans responded by preserving portions of their traditional culture and by seeking strength through religious faith and resistance.

The People of North America : 

The People of North America A new environment (North America) and contact with new peoples (European and Native) helped African-Americans form a new way of life within the circumstances that slavery forced upon them. The peoples of North America: Native-Americans Europeans: Spanish French English

Native Americans : 

Native Americans Complex societies. Spoke different languages. Lived in different environments. Considered themselves distinct from each other.

Native Americans : 

Native Americans Mexico, Central America, and Peru: Developed complex civilizations. Built large and densely populated cities. Built large stone temples. Kept official records. Studied astronomy and mathematics. Governments led by monarchs. Aztec Pyramid

Native Americans : 

Native Americans In the American Southwest: Developed highly sophisticated farming communities. Produced pottery. Studied astronomy. Built large adobe towns. Struggled against dry climate. Ancient Adobe Town

Native Americans : 

Native Americans In eastern North America: Built large burial mounds. Built large cities. Established sophisticated civilizations. Formed large trade routes.

Native Americans : 

Native Americans Europeans met a large variety of Native Civilizations. Not “savages”. European contact brought diseases that ravaged Native Civilizations. Chicken pox Small pox Syphilis Measles Yellow fever Death rate in some villages at 90%.

Native Americans : 

Native Americans Native American ways influenced the way Europeans and Africans who came to America. Indian crops became staples in European and African diets. Tobacco = economic benefit = slavery.

Native Americans : 

Native Americans Relationships between African-Americans and Native-Americans very complex during the Colonial Period. Indians would provide shelter to runaway slaves. Indians owned African slaves. Indians helped crush African slave revolts. Some African-Americans assisted in the trade of Indian slaves. African-Americans helped European Colonists fight Indian attacks. Colonial governments tried to prevent contact between Africans and Natives. Not successful.

The Spanish : 

The Spanish Focused on Caribbean and Central America. Colonial economy depended upon the forced labor of local Indian populations. Disease and poor working conditions reduced Indian populations. The Spanish looked to the African slave trade to fill the gaps. Slaves worked in the sugar fields and in the mines. Some slaves (Indian and African) were able to gain their freedom. Became small landholders, tradesmen, and militiamen.

The Spanish : 

The Spanish Those who gained their freedom were often mix raced. Identified with their former masters. 1526: Luis Vasquez de Ayllon brought 100 African slaves from Hispaniola to establish a colony in Georgetown, SC. Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto had African slaves accompanying him on his journey from Florida to the Mississippi River. 1526: Africans helped in the construction of St. Augustine.

The English : 

The English English were slow to begin colonizing the New World. Early efforts at Roanoke failed (miserably). Joint Stock Companies Investors pooled their money to form a corporation. Early English colonies were settled by Joint Stock Companies. Virginia Company of London Approved by King James I in April of 1606. Land at Virginia in April 1607. Establishes Jamestown.

The English : 

The English Jamestown was not profitable (at first). The Colony struggled to survive. 1612: John Rolfe brought superior tobacco seeds from the Caribbean to Virginia. This “new” leaf proves to be very profitable. Tobacco became the economic mainstay of Virginia and Maryland. Tobacco is labor intensive. Who would do the work?

The English : 

The English The Virginians could not enslave or employee the local Indian population. Disease and war had already done considerable harm to the local populations. The Virginians did not immediately turn to the African slave trade. The English turned to the lower levels of British society. England’s “undesirable” to be sent to America.

The English : 

The English Who were the “undesirables” of English society? The chronically unemployed. The poor. Criminals. These people would be used as indentured servants. There were Africans in Virginia. 1619: 15 African men and 17 African women were living and working in Jamestown. They were not slaves. They were indentured servants.

The English : 

The English Indentured servants were not free (unfree labor). Some of the Africans in early Virginia were Christian and therefore could not be enslaved. Many (white and black) worked off their purchase price and were freed.

The English : 

The English Remaining 17th century: Very few African-Americans lived in Virginia or Maryland. Example: In 1649 Virginia’s population was about 18,500 people. Only 300 of them were African-American.

The English : 

The English The English, like the Spanish, referred to African-Americans as negroes. Spanish term for “black”. From 1620s-1670s, black, white, and native indentured servants worked the fields together, ate together, and slept together. Such Indentured Servitude was nothing new to English society. English parents would indenture (apprentice) their children to “masters” to learn a trade.

The English : 

The English Many English came to Virginia as servants. As demand for labor grew, more and more English volunteered to become indentured servants. Most earned land, money, etc. They just wanted a new start.

Black Servitude in the Chesapeake : 

Black Servitude in the Chesapeake White and Black servants had hard lives Some differences in treatment. Masters purchased their service for a set number of years. Many were determined to get their monies worth. Treatment was often harsh. Many indentured servants died: Overworked disease

Black Servitude in the Chesapeake : 

Black Servitude in the Chesapeake Those that survived would regain their freedoms. Some became farmers who purchased servants. Anthony Johnson African-American Arrived in Virginia in 1621 as a servant. By 1651 he was a free property owner. 250 acres. Master of servants (both white and black).

Black Servitude in the Chesapeake : 

Black Servitude in the Chesapeake During this period of time free Africans in Virginia could participate fully in society. Jurors. Public officials. Own land. Lend money. Sue or be sued. Prior to the 1670s, free blacks were generally on the same level as free whites. This would change. Black servants treated differently already.

Black Servitude in the Chesapeake : 

Black Servitude in the Chesapeake Race was already an important distinction. Examples of differences: African women worked the fields while white women were given domestic duties. African servants lacked sir names and were listed separately from whites in the census. By 1640, blacks could not bear arms. No such law against white servants. 1640: An important marker.

Black Servitude in the Chesapeake : 

Black Servitude in the Chesapeake Around 1640 records begin to show a preference towards making blacks slaves rather than servants. Courts in the tobacco colonies start reflecting the assumption that it was acceptable for persons of African descent to serve their masters for life. In the years following 1640, the idea that Africans were inalterably alien would become more and more important in the mind of the Chesapeake colonists. This would lead to the acceptance of Chattel Slavery in the Chesapeake colonies (Virginia and Maryland).

Race & The Origins of Black Slavery in the Chesapeake Colonies. : 

Race & The Origins of Black Slavery in the Chesapeake Colonies. 1640-1670: the economy moved from being one based on white indentured servants to one based on the labor of black slaves. By 1700, slaves made up 20% of Virginia’s population. What caused this shift?

Race & The Origins of Black Slavery in the Chesapeake Colonies. : 

Race & The Origins of Black Slavery in the Chesapeake Colonies. Poor whites finding better opportunities. The English had taken note of slavery in the Caribbean. Black labor was cheaper than white labor. Blacks were less likely to successfully escape. Blacks could be disciplined with impunity. The supply of African labor was ‘inexhaustible”. Britain was becoming more involved in the trade. Bacon’s Rebellion

Bacon’s Rebellion : 

Bacon’s Rebellion Nathaniel Bacon disputed with the Governor of Virginia over Indian policy. Bacon and his followers indiscriminately murdered Indians in an attempt to force them out of Virginia. Bacon died of dysentery and the rebellion collapsed. Why is this important? Bacon’s followers were white and black servants. Could fuel class conflict among whites. By moving away from white servants, the upper class avoided such conflict.

Statutory Recognition of Slavery in The Chesapeake : 

Statutory Recognition of Slavery in The Chesapeake Social change came first (non-legal). Statutory (legal) recognition of slavery occurred during the 1660s. Slave Codes (Laws). Did not affect freed blacks. Applied only to those blacks in servitude and those who would later come to the Colonies.

Statutory Recognition of Slavery in The Chesapeake : 

Statutory Recognition of Slavery in The Chesapeake 1662: Virginia House of Burgesses passed slave codes that allowed for children to be born into slavery. Chesapeake colonies began to assume that the “natural” condition of the black people was that of servitude. Slavery in British North American became “a racially defined system of perpetual involuntary servitude that compelled almost all black people to work as agricultural laborers”. Slave codes enacted between 1660 and 1710 further defined American slavery “as a system that sought as much to control persons of African descent as to exploit their labor”.

Statutory Recognition of Slavery in The Chesapeake : 

Statutory Recognition of Slavery in The Chesapeake No longer would Christianity protect blacks from being enslaved. 1667: Virginia’s House of Burgesses ruled that “the conferring of baptisme doth not alter the condition of the person as to his bondage or freedome”. 1669: The House of Burgesses ruled that “if any slave resist his master and by the extremity of the correction should chance to die, that his death shall not be accompted ffelony, but the master be qcquit from molestation, since it cannot be presumed that prepensed malice should induce any man to destroy his owne estate”

Statutory Recognition of Slavery in The Chesapeake : 

Statutory Recognition of Slavery in The Chesapeake Slaves were not allowed to: Testify in court. Own private property. Leave the plantation or farm without a pass. Congregate in groups larger than two or three. Enter into contracts. Marry. Bear arms. By 1700, enslaved blacks had been legally reduced to the status of a domestic animal. 1705: The Virginia House of Burgesses reinforced all of these points.

Plantation Slavery: 1700-1750 : 

Plantation Slavery: 1700-1750 Direct result of Shrinking number of white servants. Racial prejudice against blacks. Increased availability of black slaves. Fear of class conflict among whites (Bacon’s Rebellion). As the tobacco industry grew, so did the demand for slaves.

The Tobacco Colonies : 

The Tobacco Colonies Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina. By 1750: 144,872 slaves in Virginia & Maryland 61% Tobacco 40,000 slaves in South Carolina & Georgia 17% Rice Majority of whites did not own slaves. Economy depended upon slavery.

Working & Living : 

Working & Living Housing: Simple and temporary. Chesapeake: small log cabins (dirt floors, brick fireplaces, wooden chimneys, maybe a window or two).

Working & Living : 

Working & Living The majority of slaveholders in the tobacco colonies: Owned and farmed small tracks of land. Had fewer than 5 slaves. Would work with their slaves in the fields. Relationships formed.

Working & Living : 

Working & Living Some slaveholders in the tobacco colonies: Owned large plantations. Had many slaves. Kept slaves divided among several small areas. To reduce chances of rebellion. As the plantation system grew this practice was abandoned.

Working & Living : 

Working & Living Most slaves: Worked from sun up to sun down. Given short lunch breaks. Off on Sundays. Created “unofficial” break times. Mid 1700s: Some male slaves started performing various skilled jobs. Which they were happy to do. Generally African men viewed field labor to be “woman's work”. Carpenter, miller, tanner, shoemaker, etc.

Working & Living : 

Working & Living Female salves had fewer options. Most spent their time: Working in the fields. Working in the homes (domestic duties). Washing, cooking, babysitting the children, and cleaning. Slaves resented their status. In the early years, many could remember a time when they were free (in Africa). This resentment continued.

Low-Country Slavery : 

Low-Country Slavery South Carolina & Georgia. A Distinct Form of Slavery Rice was the major crop. First British settlers were immigrants from Barbados and not from England. Had been slaveholders on Barbados. Brought slaves with them.. Therefore, blacks were never indentured servants in the low country. By the early 1700s, there were more slaves than whites.

Rice and Plantations in The Low Country : 

Rice and Plantations in The Low Country Focused on rice around 1700. Many of their slaves had grown rice in West Africa. Rice cannot be grown profitably on small farms. Large plantations became common in the low country.

Working & Living in The Low Country : 

Working & Living in The Low Country High mortality rates among slaves. Disease. Overworked. Poor treatment. Slave population in the low country did not grow by “natural reproduction”. Slave population in the low country depended on the Atlantic slave trade (prior to the Revolution).

Rice and Plantations in The Low Country : 

Rice and Plantations in The Low Country In some ways, slave life was very different than in the tobacco colonies. For example: In the low country slaves lived in small houses. Slaves lived somewhat autonomous lives. Assigned daily tasks. Once daily tasks were complete, they were free to work any in their own gardens (etc). Due to large slave population, they were able to maintain large amounts of their African heritage.

Rice and Plantations in The Low Country : 

Rice and Plantations in The Low Country “Low country slave society developed striking paradoxes in race relations” White very fearful of slave revolts. 1670, South Carolina enacts the toughest slave code in all of North America. White population needed blacks for labor and protection. For protection? Yes. Georgia was to be a buffer between Spanish Florida and South Carolina.

Rice and Plantations in The Low Country : 

Rice and Plantations in The Low Country Slaves in the Low Country developed distinct classes among themselves. Creole population developed Lived close to whites in Charleston and Savannah Absorbed European values. Of mixed race. Enjoyed social and economic privileges. Constantly under close and strict supervision.

Rice and Plantations in The Low Country : 

Rice and Plantations in The Low Country Slaves who lived in the rural areas. Lived somewhat autonomous lives. Worked on a “task system”. Assigned daily tasks. Once finished, they could work on their own plots or do other activities (usually without direct supervision). Country slaves were the largest population on the rice plantations. Maintained a good amount of their African heritage.

Slave Dress and Food : 

Slave Dress and Food Early years of slavery – Slave dress was minimal. Men wore breechcloths with no shirt. Women wore simple dresses. Children went without clothing until puberty. Over time, the styles changed: Men wore shirts, pants, and hats (in the fields). Women worse loose fitting, simple dresses and covered their heads with handkerchiefs.

Slave Dress and Food : 

Slave Dress and Food Ate variety of foods: Corn Salt pork Yams Salted beef and fish Chicken Rabbits Biscuits Rice

Miscegenation & Creolization : 

Miscegenation & Creolization Mixing of races. Disturbed many of the colonial elites. Miscegenation – interbreeding of races. Produced Creolization. Persons of mixed European & African descent. White slaveholders sometimes had “relations” with black female slaves. There were cases of black/white marriages in Virginia during the 1600s.

Miscegenation & Creolization : 

Miscegenation & Creolization Assemblies worked to prevent such interracial marriages. Act Concerning Servants and Slaves – 1705 The chief concern of the assemblies was preventing white women from having “relations” with black men. WHY? 1705 Act Concerning Servants & Slaves “all children shall be bond or free, according to the condition of their mothers…” Feared Mulatto children would assert their legal right to freedom. Creating a legally recognized mixed-race class. Blur the line between the dominant and subordinate races in Virginia.

Origins of African-American Culture : 

Origins of African-American Culture Developed in the context of slavery. Preservation of the extended family. Created fictional kin relationships to provide support. By 1700, relationships once again biological. Early African-Americans retained knowledge of their extended families. Maintained that relationship despite time and distance. Sheltered escaped kin. Helped when kin moved to new plantation/farm.

Religious Revival : 

Religious Revival During the early years, many slave masters refused to allow their slaves to convert to Christianity. WHY? Exodus account. Must be freed. Created independent spirit. Many slaves maintained traditional African beliefs.

Religious Revival : 

Religious Revival Traditional African Religions: Diverse religious beliefs/practices. Islamic – Islam arrived in Africa during the life of Muhammad when a party of Muslims fled to Ethiopia to avoid persecution. Christianity was practiced in areas. Islam often displaced Christianity in Africa. Islamic beliefs persisted among slaves until the 19th century.

Religious Revival : 

Religious Revival The Great Awakening 1740: local manifestations of intense religious interest and concern were transformed into an awakening that involved every colony and churches from all denominations. African-Americans were not immune to the revival.

Religious Revival : 

Religious Revival Recognized the preaching style. Much in common with West African “preaching”. The revival emphasized personal rebirth, singing, dancing, and emotion. Many slaves saw physical and spiritual freedom in Christianity and the Awakening. Through preaching, they came to believe they were spiritually equal to the white man.

Religious Revival : 

Religious Revival Slaves often attended “white” churches. Attended with their masters. Sat in the back or in the balcony. Received in the same way as whites. Had to have permission letter to join. Enjoyed full membership. Some slave masters came to believe they had a duty to evangelize their slaves. Others saw in Christianity a way to teach their slaves the importance of obedience.

Religious Revival : 

Religious Revival African-Americans developed their own churches. Could worship how they wanted to. Dancing, singing, shouting, clapping, etc. Blended European hymns with traditional African music (Black spirituals). The Great Awakening introduced Christianity as a major force among African-Americans. African-Americans inculcated African heritage/traditions into Christianity.

Language : 

Language Various aspects of West African culture survived. Folk literature: Riddles, proverbs – used for entertainment and education. Music: Hymns, ballads, etc. Sometimes played for white audiences. Black English: Combined English with Native African languages.

Impact of Colonial Culture : 

Impact of Colonial Culture Slave children played with white children. Slave women raised white children. Generations of white children picked upon various African-American speech patterns. Culinary impact: Dishes go back to West African: BBQ, fried chicken, black-eyed peas, collard and mustard greens, etc.

Slavery in the Northern Colonies : 

Slavery in the Northern Colonies Different form of slavery in the north. To understand why, we need to examine the New England colonies. Plymouth Colony – founded in the Fall of 1620 by religious separatists. Massachusetts Bay Colony – Formed in 1629 when 400 Puritans left England to escape religious persecution. Rhode Island – Formed in 1636 when Roger Williams was expelled from Mass. Bay and Plymouth for his “strange teachings”. Connecticut – founded in 1636 as a safe haven for Puritan noblemen. Pennsylvania – founded in 1681 by Quaker William Penn.

Slavery in the Northern Colonies : 

Slavery in the Northern Colonies Very cold climate. Extreme cold made it an unlikely place for settlers interested in crops like rice, tobacco, or cotton. No staple crop. Settlers had small farms. Very few slaves. Heavily influenced by religion . More New Englanders were either opposed to slavery or treated slaves “better” than southerners did.

Slavery in the Northern Colonies : 

Slavery in the Northern Colonies Slaves in New England: Often lived with their masters. Worked on small family farms. Most of these farms had no more than one or two slaves. Much closer to the family. Worked as artisans, shopkeepers, messengers, general laborers, and domestic servants. Puritans often evangelized their slaves. Even recognized their spiritual equality before God.

Slavery in the Northern Colonies : 

Slavery in the Northern Colonies No staple crop meant fewer slaves. What did fewer slaves mean? African culture more difficult to maintain. Usually assimilated into white culture. Assimilation: the process by which formerly distinct and separate groups merge and become one group. Anglo-conformity: African-Americans adopted more “white” ways.

Slavery in Spanish Florida & French Louisiana : 

Slavery in Spanish Florida & French Louisiana Florida (Spain): Settled in 1565. St. Augustine was the first American city. Military: number of African slaves rather low. Many slaves used as soldiers. Gained power. When British took control in 1763, blacks fled for Cuba. British control brought plantation slavery to Florida.

Slavery in Spanish Florida & French Louisiana : 

Slavery in Spanish Florida & French Louisiana Louisiana (France): Settled in 1699. Military: number of slaves in early years was small. French imported thousands of slaves into Louisiana - by 1731 slaves outnumbered the whites. Worked on plantations growing tobacco and indigo. Worked in the port city of New Orleans as skilled artisans. Became home to a large Creole population.

Black Women in Colonial America : 

Black Women in Colonial America White slave masters sometimes exploited female slaves. Black women were often raped by captain/crew of slavers. Slave masters sometimes forced their intentions of female slaves. Giving birth was dangerous. Forced to work until delivery. Greater chances of complications.

Slave Resistance and Rebellion : 

Slave Resistance and Rebellion Slavery created resentment and anger. Slaves showed anger in different ways: Masked their true feelings. Held to various aspects of African culture. Organized work slowdowns, broke tools, allowed mules to escape, burned down barns, and hid supplies. Run away. Armed rebellions.

Slide 69: 

Read: Chapter 4: Rising Expectations: 1763-1783. Review Questions: pg 94.

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