Wes Brady a former slave worked on a Cotton estate in Harris County, Texas as field hand picking cotton. He shared his experiences growing up on a plantation. He explained how all the slaves worked under very intense and unsuitable conditions. You could not make a mistake because slaves worked under overseers who held a watchful eye and lash in the other hand. Brady explained how his master would weigh each bucket of cotton expecting each person to have a certain amount picked for the day. Anybody who failed to meet their quota endured harsh beatings. To avoid his grandmother from being beaten Brady gave her pounds of cotton. Slave children had a bond with their family that could not be compare to the non slave children. Â Slave children held a tight emotional bond with individuals who cared for them. This is why slaves protected each other from harm. Many young slave children witnessed the tedious work their parents did on the plantations. Many slave children could barely wait to work with their parents. Â Children wanted to help their parents in any possible way. Â When a young man started to work in the fields it represented manhood. Child slaves naturally assumed their place in the workforce. Â
Jim also a child slave lived an unusual lifestyle. Jim received special treatment from his master. Jim received certain privileges because the master happened to be his father. Jim and his mother did not work in the fields. They worked in the house as domestic servants doing very little work. John his father loved him deeply because he was first and only son. John’s wife Martha bearded no children for John. Martha abused Jim and his mother frequently out of hatred. And when John died he willed everything to his son Jim. Â Sometimes mistress and master spoiled their child slaves.Â They played with the children, bought presents, spoiled them; writes Ida Akins of North Carolina a former child slave child.Â Many firsthand accounts explain slaveholders natural interest in child slaves. Mary Anderson a child slave recalled every Sunday morning all the slave children would bath, get dressed, and comb their hair, before going to the masters house for breakfast. All the slave children looked forward to Sunday. These children grew up with the assumption believing their slave owners to be fair and kind. Â Slave masters viewed slave children as pets and as property. They groomed them to attract potential buyers. By age sixteen slave children would be broken-in for a long life of labor.
During this time children slaves possessed no rights. To a certain extent children did not own their lives, destiny, or fate. The slave children sat at the bottom of the social and economic class.Â Not all slaves parent remained poor.Â Only a small percentage of Africans owned land and lived free with their children. And those who even owned land and lived free still resided at the bottom of the class. Children slaves encountered many acts of violence and abuse. For example: verbal abuse, physical abuse, beating, rapes, and overall downgrading.Â Slave holders dictated nearly everything about slave children. Human beings should not live without their basic human rights nor stripped of their basic necessities.
Slave children workload differed based on their environment. Some worked long sixteen hours every day from sunrise to sunset. Field hands worked the longest hours. Few of them worked various jobs in their master homes. For example: they cooked, cleaned, and nurtured their masters children. Also slave children trained as craft workers functioning as brick layers, blacksmiths, carpenters, cabinet makers, dockworkers, office workers, riverboat pilots, lumber jacks, and mine workers. Slave children are often grouped with and adult slave to work in big groups called gang labor. In gang labor producing large outcomes remained a key factor in its productivity for slave masters. Under gang labor slave children divided into groups based on their physical capability to perform certain task.
In conclusion slavery existed well before the 1400’s. But it is unclear when child slavery started. The subject of childhood slavery in this time became overlooked in society. A focus on slave children not only underscores slaverys oppression, cruelty, and unfairness but also reviews that enslaved children and their parents dealt with hardships and horror inflicted by their masters. Â It also demonstrated that even children can be active agents by impacting slavery in its highest degree. Â The study of slave children brought many important facts to light. During the adolescent years most of the slave children became broken-in losing their intellect and kept for the physical bodies. Despite slave masters tight hold on their upbringings slave children managed to experience to some degree of there already lost youth. Slave children used games and songs to improvise for the lost of their freewill and freedom. Through their activities slave children can be active members in their community and remain capable of making life more bearable and suitable for themselves and others around them. Â Slave children genuinely respected and cared for their parents and their slave communities unlike slave master who they respected out of fear. For slave masters to get the same respect given to parents children are sometimes bribed with ifts and favor. Even though young female slaves underwent acts of sexual abuse and exploitation bearing unwanted children they still expressed affection and love toward their offspring. Young pregnant children slaves continued to work until giving birth to their children having little time to recover from child bearing. In spite of slave masters strong hold on education towards slave children some still learned how to read and improving their awareness in the environment around them. Although slave children have been subjected to working long hours they still made it out with their distinction and hope of one day being free. Despite the unruly conditions slave children managed to shield themselves, parents, and close community members knowing the consequences they face.