Enslaved African Americans created ties of family, community, and culture through their music, dance, and language. Even though they faced hardships such as slavery, family separation, and broken communities, they preserved their African roots through their cultural products.
For many enslaved Americans, music became a way to express the pain and hardship of slavery. It was a communal experience in that all slaves shared this burden and could express their pain in a non-threatening way while working in inhumane conditions. It was an oratory practice in that the songs were passed down from African ancestors and would change based on current circumstances. These songs of endurance and hope still remain today in the Black American church.
In addition to music, dance helped enslaved African Americans come together. For many West Africans from different communities, it was a way to communicate across cultures and remember Africa. Like music, dancing was a way to survive and endure during the hardship that was slavery. This remembrance of Africa remains today in festivals such as Carnival.
Language is another way that enslaved African Americans created community. Enslaved Africans were brought from many different West African countries and spoke different languages and dialects. In order to communicate with each other as well as communicate with their slaveholders, enslaved African Americans formed a creole language. This happens when different groups not sharing a common language need to communicate. Early creole that enslaved African Americans spoke had similar grammatical rules to different African languages. This creole evolved into African American Vernacular English (AAVE), which is still spoken and understood today by many descendants of enslaved Africans.