Essay about Slaves: Caribbean and Port City Slave

Submitted By Victoria-Booth
Words: 615
Pages: 3

Victoria Doyle
December 10, 2014
Psychology 101
George Rutledge
Personality in Slave Victims & Racists

Slaves did not share all of the same experiences. Each has his or her own story to tell. Just as slavery has not been the same throughout the ages, so too does slavery change even within the same time period. Consider how the lives of slaves vary by region, occupation, gender, even by owner. As documented by Olaudah Equiano in his narrative, slaves in England were not treated the same as slaves in Africa, the West Indies, and different regions in America. For instance, a typical male slave on a Caribbean plantation would have endured strenuous physical labor, poor living conditions, a poor diet, emotional and physical abuse, possible torture, only to die young. His very being used up and sucked dry by his owner without thought or care. Most slaves worked 15 to 17 hour days under a hot sun. The work could be dangerous as fire was used to refine the sugar. Many slaves were burned and injured. Due to the lack of medical treatment, many of the injuries were disfiguring and permanent. The plantation slave had very poor housing. As noted in Equiano, “Their huts, … are often open sheds, built in damp places...”. (1) As a result, slaves often were ill or died. “…they contract many disorders, from being exposed to the damp air…”(2) After toiling under the hot sun, a male slave on a Caribbean plantation might attempt to earn some money by gathering grass to sell or use to make baskets. A slave might also try to sell fish he got on his free time or some other goods. Unfortunately, these slaves often had their goods stolen by their owner or other white people with little recourse to seek justice. As a slave told Equiano, “I must look up to God Mighty in the top for right”. (3)

A male slave who lived and worked in port cities had slightly better existence. He might work on the docks loading and unloading cargo on ships. Many male slaves in the ports were skilled workers engaging in such occupations as a clerk and a copper. As such, they typically earned more for their master than the average field hand. Some male slaves were owned by merchants; others were owned by townspeople and were rented out to the merchants. If a slave was rented out to a merchant, the slave was responsible for collecting his earnings and…