A Slaves's Life.Write an account of a slave's life who was taken from Africa to America. Please mention the hardships, difficulties, etc.-- anything bad the white people did. How they all felt...

A Slaves's Life.

Write an account of a slave's life who was taken from Africa to America. Please mention the hardships, difficulties, etc.-- anything bad the white people did. How they all felt about it, etc. Thank you.

Asked on by r10

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geosc's profile pic

geosc | College Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted on

Below is a link to a slave narrative that is very interesting and easy to read.  The author had very good language skills.  This book is The New Man: Twenty-nine Years a Slave, Twenty-nine Years a Free Man by H. C. Bruce.

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that you might want to integrate some primary source account of what it was like to be a slave.  Writers such as Olaudah Equiano and Frederick Douglass might be very good starting points in depicting what life was like as a slave and the hardships that were involved in the process.  I think that gaining and appropriating the voice of primary sources in your writing will help add a level of depth to your discussion as opposed to trivializing it.  There is a great deal of difficulty in writing about a slave's life because very few know exactly what it presented and what it contained.  In order to counter this, being able to use primary source analysis as part of your writing will lend a voice of credibility to what you are composing.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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I should point out that not all slaves were deliberately mistreated by their owners. After all, slaves were considered property; they were also relatively expensive to purchase, often costing more than $1000. It would not be practical to purposely harm or kill such a valuable commodity (just as one would not deliberately break a large flat screen TV or throw away a diamond ring). Punishing slaves for disobedience or trying to escape was another matter, and no doubt many slaves were harshly treated under these circumstances. Many, if not most, slaves spent quiet lives, working their jobs and then retiring for the night with their families in the shelters provided on the plantations. Many were considered as extended family members by their masters. Free men and women they definitely were not, and most slaves no doubt longed for their freedom, but the majority were not tortured daily as some movies and stories would have you believe.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

There is a great primary source for you to use on this, written by a former slave who was captured in Africa and brought across the Middle Passage on a slave ship, sold in Barbados and eventually brought to the British colonies.  He later became literate and recorded his experiences.  His name was Olaudah Equiano, and his is one of the few actual eyewitness accounts of what happened in the slave trade and the Middle Passage.

I've provided some links to his biography and his story below.  Hope that helps on your assignment.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

We cannot write this for you, but we can give you ideas to help you do it for yourself.

First, I would talk about the fears that you would feel when first being taken and put on the ship.  Surely you would wonder what was going to happen to you.  You are being taken from the life you have known and put together with people who can't even talk to you.  Then there are the white people -- maybe you've never seen one before.  There are slae narratives that say slaves were worried that they would be killed and eaten.

Then you could talk about the terrible conditions on the slave ships.  The slaves were made to lie in very small and crowded areas that were really disgusting because of people vomiting, having diarrhea, etc.

ako6777's profile pic

ako6777 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

One aspect of slavery that must have bothered the slaves greatly was the fact that they were captured and sold to foreigners by their own people.  Many were captured while they were hunting and going about their daily lives.  The fact that their families did not know what happened to them or where they went would have been torturous. 

Another emotional  trauma the slaves faced was the separation of mother and child.  Many fractured families were taken to the auctions together and were forced to leave separately.  The mother would be purchased by one person and the child by another person.  As a child this would have been very traumatic. 

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