Slavery was a system that was adopted throughout America. The system was based on race whereby the whites were considered the superior race. The slaves were to serve their masters who were the whites. The slaves were owned and traded by their owners at will. The slaves, however, were strongly opposed to this system.
The slaves managed to resist the system and adopted their own way of living despite the harsh conditions that they were being put through by their tormentors. This paper discusses the challenges that the slaves encountered as well as their resistance and the relativity of slavery to gender.
The slaves felt the need to live a good and comfortable life. Despite their lack of freedom and the numerous restrictions that were forced upon them, the slaves resisted their condition and managed to create their own way of life. The slaves still managed to start families despite the harsh conditions.
The slaves would marry, set up homes and eventually get children. This, however, was a big challenge and resulted in the children being regarded as the property of their owners. The family units even extended to the extended family. The marriages between the couples were done by their own people who presided over the ceremony in their cultural way (Foner 216).
Religion was still a very significant aspect in their lives. The slaves did not leave behind their religious beliefs. They still believed in the existence of an almighty spirit who they prayed to. In most cases, baptisms were done in secret. This baptism was presided over by themselves. An appointed leader was to preside over the ceremony. The slaves would go to the river to be baptized. They also taught their children about faith at an early age making them believe in the almighty (Foner 220).
Some slaves learnt how to read. This was very uncommon in the period as the slaves were not allowed or even put in an environment where they could learn to read or write. This was mainly through their individual efforts. They learnt to read slowly through the constant learning and recalling of words. The process took time, but their resilience enabled them to learn (Foner 214).
Slavery was hard for most slaves. The constant mistreatment and denial of rights by the masters who were the whites became too much for the slaves. The slaves were put in situations where their lives were in danger as they were being threatened with death or physical harm.
The most common method used by the slaves in an effort to resist slavery was to escape. The slaves opted for this option so as to liberate themselves from the harsh conditions they were under. They escaped to states where the laws against slavery were minimal. In situations where the laws were reformed advocating for increased slavery, they would move to the nearby countries such as Canada where there was no slavery (Jacobs 90).
Some slaves used the generosity of their masters to their advantage. They managed to convince their masters to free them from captivity. This was through striking a deal with their masters to liberate them so that they may also get the chance to pursue their dreams and live a normal life.
Some slaves felt that the only form of resistance that was to be effective was the use of violence. The slaves armed themselves with all sorts of weapons and used them to attack their masters and other whites. They thought that the whites were the enemies and that the use of force would sway other whites from enslaving them (Jacobs 129).
The use of the political avenue through rallies and speeches was also effective. The whites held rallies where they made speeches campaigning against slavery and advocating for equality. This was effective in getting the support of the people, as the light was shed on the practice of slavery. The speakers insisted on equality because they believed that everyone should be alike, humanity and how slavery was not ethical.
Slaves felt that God did not intend for man to live like that. The constant push for the reform of the bills that supported slavery was also constantly dwelt upon so as to encourage the reformation of the bills. This was to encourage the adoption of bills that campaigned for equality. Some of these bills included the bill that did not grant blacks the right to vote and the slavery bill. These were some of the most effective strategies used by the slaves (Foner 221).
The hardships that the slaves experienced were different in relation to gender. Males and women faced different hardships. The hardships that were faced by the men were too much manual labor and abuse by the whites. The men were overworked in the plantations. They toiled and sweated for the whole day with just the relief of minimal minutes of rest.
The women, on the other hand, faced different problems. They were sexually harassed by the whites who pressured them to grant them sexual favors. The slaves would also be raped and they would lose their virginity by force at a very young age. Their mistresses were constantly mistreating the female slaves, and their children were sold at an early age (Jacobs 80).
The men, in response to this hardship, would resort to violence to counter the resistance. They would exert physical force on the whites so as to avenge what had been done to them. The women, on the other hand, resorted to the most common resistance strategy that was used by both slave genders which was escaping from the masters.
The slaves felt that, despite the fact that they were forced into a difficult situation it did not mean that they could not live their lives. Every human being wants to have a comfortable life. They analyzed the situation and got ways of incorporating a worthy lifestyle into their condition of slavery.
The conditions that they adapted in their lives were the bringing up of families, the belief in an almighty being which was religion and education. They did not give in to the efforts of the British in trying to erode their culture. They still maintained aspects that gave them a sense of belonging and identity.
The slaves resisted slavery at all costs. These made them constantly escape from the whites. This was a common thing in the whole country as many slaves all across the country were opposed to the enslaving. In some extreme circumstances, some slaves opted for the use of force as a tool of freedom from slavery. The new avenue that was more peaceful and most effective was the use of politics to aid in the eradication of slavery.
Slavery was different between genders. Both sexes experienced different hardships due to slavery. They opted for different resistance strategies that were convenient for them. The slaves managed to bend the strict slavery system so as to suit them, and whenever they felt the system was not on their side they decided to oppose it so as to push for their goals. The slaves eventually made the entire system become less hard for them by making it flexible.
Foner, Eric. Voices of Freedom. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010. Print.
Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Mineola, NY: Dover publications, 2001. Print.