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FAQ: What were living conditions of slaves?

Life on the fields meant working sunup to sundown six days a week and having food sometimes not suitable for an animal to eat. Plantation slaves lived in small shacks with a dirt floor and little or no furniture. Life on large plantations with a cruel overseer was oftentimes the worst.

What were the lives of slaves like?

Slaves on small farms often slept in the kitchen or an outbuilding, and sometimes in small cabins near the farmer’s house. On larger plantations where there were many slaves, they usually lived in small cabins in a slave quarter, far from the master’s house but under the watchful eye of an overseer.

What type of housing did slaves live in?

Slaves typically lived in small log houses coated with a plaster made of mud and other materials to keep out the wind, rain, and snow; a brick fireplace was centered in the largest part of the structure. Dirt floors were most common, and wooden chimneys that could be moved as needed were attached.

What was life like for enslaved African?

In the early 19th century, most enslaved men and women worked on large agricultural plantations as house servants or field hands. Life for enslaved men and women was brutal; they were subject to repression, harsh punishments, and strict racial policing.

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What did slaves do for fun?

During their limited leisure hours, particularly on Sundays and holidays, slaves engaged in singing and dancing. Though slaves used a variety of musical instruments, they also engaged in the practice of “patting juba” or the clapping of hands in a highly complex and rhythmic fashion. A couple dancing.

What did slaves eat?

Weekly food rations — usually corn meal, lard, some meat, molasses, peas, greens, and flour — were distributed every Saturday. Vegetable patches or gardens, if permitted by the owner, supplied fresh produce to add to the rations. Morning meals were prepared and consumed at daybreak in the slaves’ cabins.

How did the slaves get health care?

Sick slaves rarely saw doctors Instead, the white master and his wife would provide the health care, though rarely were either one trained physicians. Older enslaved women also helped, and brought their knowledge of herbs, roots, plants and midwifery from Africa to the Americas.

Did slaves get days off?

Slaves were generally allowed a day off on Sunday, and on infrequent holidays such as Christmas or the Fourth of July. During their few hours of free time, most slaves performed their own personal work.

How long did slaves usually live?

As a result of this high infant and childhood death rate, the average life expectancy of a slave at birth was just 21 or 22 years, compared to 40 to 43 years for antebellum whites. Compared to whites, relatively few slaves lived into old age.

What did slaves do in the winter?

In his 1845 Narrative, Douglass wrote that slaves celebrated the winter holidays by engaging in activities such as ” playing ball, wrestling, running foot-races, fiddling, dancing, and drinking whiskey ” (p.

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How much did slaves get paid?

Wages varied across time and place but self-hire slaves could command between $100 a year (for unskilled labour in the early 19th century) to as much as $500 (for skilled work in the Lower South in the late 1850s).

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