Friday, November 29, 2019

Slavery In Texas Essays - Slavery, Crimes Against Humanity, Labor

Slavery In Texas AN EMPIRE FOR SLAVERY In the book, An Empire for Slavery, Randolph B. Clark describes the way in which Texas slaves coped with life under oppressive circumstances. Some of the topics discussed in the book include how slaves approached daily chores and provided for their material and physical condition. Also, it is demonstrated how slaves tended to their psychological and spiritual well being and how they displayed their feelings towards this Peculiar Institution. Some slaves in Texas approached responsibility for work in such a manner that they were given a great deal of leeway for their own daily job assignments and were even given supervisory positions over other slaves. Some bondsman, working as managers, tended to plantations and farms in the absence of the owners. This practice is quite remarkable when we sometimes visualize a slave as a blackman with a chain and heavy ball attached to one foot. The conception of manager slaves apparently was propagated in such an encompassing manner that some proponents of slavery found it to be very disconcerting. Some slave owners felt too much liberty was being given to the interned hoard. In 1858, state senator Henry E. McCulloch introduced a bill to outlaw the practice. The bill passed, but had little effect because it had little support in the white community. Some blacks, if not managers, were more in the order of middle managers known as drivers. Drivers were specialty supervisors who oversaw operations related to chopping cotton (cultivating), plowing, planting and harvesting. As slavery progressed many slaves graduated to other jobs that required a different degree of responsibility, such as carpenters, blacksmiths, personal valets, and housekeepers and the like. So it would appear bondsmen were perfectly capable of accomplishing any task given to them by their tormentors. Material conditions and physical treatment of slaves can be broken down into five main categories: food, housing, clothing, health and physical punishment. As would be expected, rural farm life provided food in quantity as well as variety. Domestic farm animals such as cattle, pigs, and chickens provided the main course. Gardens and row crop fields provided a variety of produce such as beans, peas, sweet potatoes, okra, corn and the like. Corn could be ground into meal for cornbread. In addition to farm raised meat and vegetables, nature itself contributed to the larder in the form of whitetail deer, bear, rabbit, squirrel, coon, opossums, quail, dove, turtles, and fish. Wild nuts and berries could be gathered at certain times of the year. Slave women would prepare the meals in addition to their normal chores and no doubt created what would later be known as that delicious soul food.Yummy. In summary, slaves appear to have had food that was in both good in quality, quantity and variety to provide for what amounted to one of the best parts of their lives. Housing on the other hand was a dismal proposition at best. While food roamed around on the hoof, building materials were hard to come by. In the 1830's there was no infrastructure in Texas, few settlements, no interstate highway systems, nowhere, within a reasonable distance was facilities to purchase even the most basic needs such as tools, nails, and lumber. As a consequence of remoteness, slave owners and bondsmen apparently made do with what the land provided. Cabins were built out of material that was indigenous to the region. Log cabins were built and gaps between the logs were chinked with straw and mud. Since there were no sawmills, no flooring was used. There were no glass windows or screens. Latrine facilities may have been the nearest bush. Housing then, would have been wholly inadequate perhaps improving as time traveled on. Indoor plumbing, cold water heaters, central air conditioning and heating were right out. Clothing, as with other aspects of slave life, was very basic indeed. Each male slave was supplied with two sets of clothes; shirt and pants made of cotton or wool. A hat and a pair of brogan shoes would complete the ensemble. No underwear or socks were supplied. Women were supplied with dresses of like material. Black seamstresses, using crude equipment made clothing. It would have been very difficult for slaves to laundry clothes, so not only were

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