Equiano’s and Jacob’s
The impact of slavery had on the African American family unit
Are you really sure who all your relatives are? Or how about that person sitting right next to you, is she or he your cousin? I remember as a little girl the stories my grandmother told me of the children that she had lost. The one that stood out the most was my Auntie Joyce Ann. It wasn't until years later that I discovered that I have walked past Auntie Joyce many times without knowing. There is many of families going throw the same as my family did., that is why the understanding of the impact of slavery had on the family structure of African-American household is essential to understanding. So that one may be able to understand so “root” of growth and empowerment of one self and their house hold.
In separating the family unit a lot was lost, a lot of history, a lot of kinship, yet most of all the structural of a family unit. "Why are parents to lose their children, brothers their sisters, or husbands their wives." (Equiano 209 – 210) Equiano is speak and about the separation of the family unit. How it was torn apart and separated. How kinship may never see each other again upon entering slavery with the "white master".
Upon leaving the slave boats, the slaves were instructed to enter "auction block" where it was not deemed unsuitable to be sold as family unit for the "white master (white man)" wanted to have power over the African-American. Mr. Equiano’s passage, "Are the dearest friends and relations, now rendered more dear by the separation from their kindred, still to be parted from each other, and thus prevented to cheering the gloom of slavery with a small comfort of being together and mingling their suffering and sorrows? Why are parents to lose her children, brothers or sisters, our husbands or wives? Surely this is a new refinements in cruelty, which, while it has no advantage to undertone for this, thus aggressive distress, space, and as a fresh horrors even into the wretchedness of slavery." (Equiano-209 – 210) . To have a whole is like having a mighty fist, if one was to start to remove fingers from that fist to fist shall become weak and splinter. Therefore, separating the African American family structure "the white master" was able to empower the African-American.
Not only was buying and selling human beings barbaric, but separating the family unit so that no family member may know one another was uncivilized and cruel. "She was the daughter of a planter in South Carolina, who, at his death, left her mother and his three children free, with money to go to St. Augustine, where they had relatives. It was during the Revolutionary War, and they were capture on their passage, carry back, and sold to different purchasers."(Jacobs – 281)The dismemberment of the family unit even occurred after the African-Americans arrived on the slave ships. Even after they tried to establish a new family unit. The structural outcome was the same no member had the right to be one with in slavery.
It's one thing to lose the land that you called home, yet another when you are losing your whole family structure. The fear that the African American must have had at this time is beyond words that can be explained them, even if tried. "The noise and clamour with which this is attended, and the eagerness visible in the countenance of the buyers, certainly not a little to increase the apprehensions of the terrified Africans, who may well be supposed to consider them as the ministers of that destruction to which they think themselves devoted. In this manner, without scruple, are relations and friends separated, most of them never to seeing each other again." (Equiano-209) To have the open mind of wondering, to never know what had happened to that friend, to that person you called your significant other, or that child that you nurse from your breasts.
Not only was the African-American separated, but to tear apart the family unit even