Eastern Oklahoma State College
What if White People were born slaves? What if we were born being sold and told how and what to do every day of our lives? What if you woke up today, and your duties were to not get dressed and freely roanm throughout our home, pour that cup of coffee, feed the family pets and head into work after dropping the kids off at school, but your job was to bring your master a set of clean towels for his hot fresh bath that he would be taking shortly after he had endulged and overate your meal you spent cooking for him, then you would be on your way to the cold wash bins out in the yard to sponge bath off and start a days work in the fields....What if you were born as a white slave? As you begin to read throughout this document, my hopes is that you will discover the many heartaches, every day struggles and frustrations, and disappointments as the blacks faced through history as slaves.
“I didn't know I was a slave until I found out I couldn't do the things I wanted” Frederick Douglass
When the North American continent was first colonized by Europeans, the land was vast, the work was harsh, and there was a severe shortage of labor. Men and women were needed to work the land. White bond servants, paying their passage across the ocean from Europe through indentured labor, eased but did not solve the problem. Early in the seventeenth century, a Dutch ship loaded with African slaves introduced a solution—and a new problem—to the New World. Slaves were most economical on large farms where labor-intensive cash crops, such as tobacco, could be grown.
By the end of the American Revolution, slavery had proven unprofitable in the North and was dying out. Even in the South the solution was becoming less useful to farmers as tobacco prices fluctuated and began to drop. However, in 1793 Northerner Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin; this device made it possible for textile mills to use the type of cotton most easily grown in the South. Cotton replaced tobacco as the South’s main cash crop and slavery became needed again. Between the economic benefits, moral and constitution issues slavery raised, southerners grew more defensive about it. They said black people, like children, were incapable of caring for themselves and that slavery was a good thing because it kept them fed, clothed, and occupied. In reality, treatment of slaves ranged from mild and paternalistic to cruel and sadistic. Husbands, wives, and children were frequently sold away from one another and punishment by whipping was regular. The United States Supreme Court in the 1857 Dred Scott Decision ruled that slaves were subhuman property with no rights of citizenship. They had no legal means of protesting the way they were treated. They had no legal means of protesting the way they were treated. Southerners feared open rebellion but this was rare.
However, slaves would pretend illness, organize slowdowns, sabotage farm machinery, and sometimes commit arson or murder. Running away, usually for short periods of time, was common. The outbreak of the Civil War forever changed the future of the American nation. The Emancipation Proclamation was a presidential