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Slavery in the American West
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Women in Slavery
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Women in Slavery
Welcome to the Women in Slavery page. This page is created by students from Randolph-Macon College. Everyone should please feel free to come in and add and edit at will. This page is designed to help students understand what women had to endure during the times of slavery no matter the skin color. Also, this page is designed to help students connect and interact with each other, to raise questions, and to present ideas with one another.
How were African American women treated versus White women?
One could agree that African American women were responsible for a lot of tasks that had to be done inside of the household. African american women were charged with a different variety of tasks, such as: cooking, cleaning, laundry, running errands, going to the market, plantation work, looking after childern, etc.
White women had chores and others tasks, but their tasks weren't as demanding as that of an enslaved individual.
Due to the sexual escapades of the white slaveowners, both Caucasian and African American women had to keep certain births on the plantation a secret.
African American women: A female slave was never able to say who the father of her child was. In some of the books that we have read, the authors explained that when records were written, the father of the slave child would not be recorded because the child would have the status of the mother, reguardless. If the African american women ever tried to tell who the father of her child was, she could be sent to jail, beaten, sold to another owner, or killed as a result.
Caucasian women: If a Mistress knew that her husband was cheating on her, there was not very much that she could do. In some cases, the white women would make the slave woman work harder, be very rude to her, or even ask her husband to beat her.
The discussion of rape
Caucasian women were seen by other whites as pure and civilized, while African American women were seen to be very sexually promiscuous. The idea of rape of an African American women in the minds of many whites was not frowned upon. Many slaves were raped by their masters who used it has a way to maintain authority. The rape of slaves is the prime reason for the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" rule for the father of a child; it would be tragic if anyone learned that a white man had a child with one of his slaves.
Compared to a Caucasian woman, whose rape would have been dealt with very seriously, the slave could do nothing because they were their master's property.
In some cases, if a caucasian woman had a mulatto child, she would declare rape in an attempt to keep the respect of her fellow friends and neighbors. The case would be taken to court and, depending on the social status of the women, the black woman could be found not guilty. A guilty verdict only occurred in a few cases.
Women were treated differently by white men when skin color was involved, and yet all women didn't have a lot of rights and were definitely looked down upon in some cases.
A few more sites which talk about women and slavery are:
Positions of African-American Slave Women
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