OtherPapers.com - Other Term Papers and Free Essays

History 332 - Ar'n't I a Woman - Female Slaves in the Plantation South

Essay by   •  June 11, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,190 Words (5 Pages)  •  2,598 Views

Essay Preview: History 332 - Ar'n't I a Woman - Female Slaves in the Plantation South

Report this essay
Page 1 of 5

History 332-01

Essay #2

April 27, 2009

Ar'n't I a Woman?

Female Slaves in the Plantation South

The life of a slave woman was not very pleasant. Slave women were forced to leave their homes and their families to become the property of slave owners. The slave woman had to adjust to too many different things. Slave women had to learn to be totally compliant to their owners or they suffered mental, physical, and sexual abuse. The slave woman was threatened with a beaten if she did not comply with the owner's advances. The slave woman was overworked, ignored, and called many different names. Following is an account of incidents and situations the female slave faced from childhood to adulthood.

Slavery for black women was much different from the black men. As a matter of fact, the slave woman was worst off than the slave man. Instead of being transported in shackles like the slave men, the slave women were transported freely because they felt the women were not a threat. Because of the slave women's freedom to run free a lot of them were sexually exploited by slave owners and overseers (White, p. 63). There were more slave men that women, and when it came time to select a mate it was easier for the woman (White, p. 65).

Slavery was a difficult time for black women. Although she was a strong woman she was ridiculed by her white male slave owners and white women. The black woman was portrayed as compliant, careless immature, and very promiscuous (White, p. 27). Prevailing and persistent myths about the nineteenth century African American women in the American south came about when Europeans were in Africa to buy slaves. There was an immediate assumption, because of the little clothing the African women were wearing, that black women were vulgar ad unwholesome. Because the slave was said to be enraged she inherited the name "Jezebel" (White, p. 29). These women were said to be "fiery and hot" and that they mated with the orangutan in the woods.

During auctions women's bodies were exposed to see if their bodies were in good condition to have children. The female slaves' breasts were squeezed, ribs were examined. Most female slaves were raped by their owners and if they did not comply, they were beaten. Many slave owners got kicks out of whipping their female slave, because it would arouse the owner sexually (White, p. 33).

Some female slaves would accept the offer of their owner in order to alleviate the affliction of slavery (White, p. 38). The wives of slave owners would become enraged but most could do nothing about it. Some stayed on with their husband and some did not. In one case a woman left her husband to live with her parents; another filed a suit against her husband (White, p. 41). Besides "Jezebel", there was the black "Mammy". "Mammy" was a woman who took care of everyone and everything in the slave owner's home. She cooked, cleaned, took care of the children, and also taught the younger servants (White, p. 47).

The life-cycle of a female slave started from the day they were born. Both black male and female children were kept away from their parents because they were away working in the fields. The elderly slaves, who no longer worked in the fields, tended the slaves' children



Download as:   txt (6.6 Kb)   pdf (92.8 Kb)   docx (11.1 Kb)  
Continue for 4 more pages »
Only available on OtherPapers.com