Survival of African Culture on an 18th Century Sugar Plantation Essay

Words: 865
Pages: 4

On an 18th century British plantation there was constant battle between slaves and planters, for the slaves needed to keep their cultural forms alive. Harsh treatment of slaves by the planter, often forced slaves to resort to various forms of resistance in order to keep their cultural forms alive. While the slaves of the plantation were able outsmart the planter at times, the planter also devised wicked schemes that made life for slaves extremely difficult. Cultural forms practiced by African slaves on the plantations included music, dance, festivals, food and religion. Music, to slaves was a form of expression of a people who had hope. Music was expressed in the form of singing and drumming. Although the drum seemed like a simple piece …show more content…
These grave consequences the slaves were forced to live with, demoralized their spirit and discouraged them from upholding certain traditions. The planter would also try breaking down the family security of slaves on the plantation by not recognizing the need for slaves to get married to each other. It was often seen irrelevant and unimportant to British enslavers and in many cases there were severe penalties for those who married when they were discovered by their enslavers. Sometimes the enslaved were given permission to live as couples in a household as a special concession for loyalty and good conduct. Even when enslavers informally recognized a marriage or a couple, they still did not allow couples to control the lives of children who could be readily sold without the knowledge or consent of the parents. These disturbances in family and social life affected cultural forms as it often left children without the moral and spiritual understandings that their ancestors once practiced. It also stunted the transmitting of culture from generation to generation, as children grew up without the proper guidance from parents. And while the planters tried to erase the heritage of a people, we saw the ingenious strategies used by the Africans to overcome these obstacles and keep their culture thriving in a world that is brutal and unforgiving.


-Beckles H. Sheperd V. (1991) “Caribbean Slave Society and Economy a Student Reader.”
Ian Randle