Born in Bondage: Growing Up Enslaved in the Antebellum South by Marie Jenkins Schwartz

Born in Bondage: Growing Up Enslaved in the Antebellum South by Marie Jenkins Schwartz

By Marie Jenkins Schwartz

Every time a baby was once born in bondage, the process of slavery all started anew. even though raised by means of their mom and dad or by way of surrogates within the slave group, young children have been finally topic to the rule of thumb in their proprietors. Following the existence cycle of a kid from beginning via formative years to younger maturity, Marie Jenkins Schwartz explores the daunting international of slave young ones, an international ruled by way of the twin authority of mum or dad and proprietor, every one with conflicting agendas. regardless of the consistent threats of separation and the need of submission to the slaveowner, slave households controlled to move on crucial classes approximately enduring bondage with human dignity. Schwartz counters the generally held imaginative and prescient of the paternalistic slaveholder who determines the existence and welfare of his passive chattel, displaying as an alternative how slaves struggled to offer their youngsters a feeling of self and belonging that denied the landlord whole keep watch over. Born in Bondage offers us an unsurpassed examine what it intended to develop up as a slave within the antebellum South. Schwartz recreates the stories of those certain yet resilient youngsters as they realized to barter among acts of submission and selfhood, among the worlds of commodity and group.

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Extra resources for Born in Bondage: Growing Up Enslaved in the Antebellum South

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Their different interests in slave infants shaped the beliefs of each about how pregnancy and childbirth should proceed. Whose ideas prevailed depended on a variety of factors, some of which the slaveholder controlled and some of which fell within the domain of the slaves. Even though owners had the advantage of superior resources, slaves found ways to make many decisions about pregnancy and childbirth. The slaveholder’s response to childbirth reflected in large part a financial calculation. Owners wanted to cultivate and harvest a cash crop: a combination of tobacco, grains, and livestock in central Virginia and the rest of the upper South; rice and cotton in the coastal regions of South Carolina Copyright © 2000 The President and Fellows of Harvard College BIRTH OF A SLAVE 21 Ex a m Co py and Georgia; and cotton throughout Alabama’s black belt and most of the lower South.

She was about five months along. When she complained of sickness, “I told her to go home. ”5 Barwick offered this explanation because some of the slave men had complained to the master about the overseer’s treatment of the women. By bringing the situation to their owner’s attention, the men intended to protect childbearing women by reminding the owner of his obligation to ensure their welfare. Slaves found it difficult to persuade planters, as well as overseers, to release pregnant women from arduous chores.

Throughout the South, babies, as well as older children, wore bags of a foul-smelling plant resin (asafetida) around their necks to ward off disease. Family members refrained from rocking an empty cradle and guarded against allowing infants to see themselves in a mirror. They rubbed various objects representing different trades on the palm of the baby’s hand in the hope that the child would grow up to excel in a particular occupation. 44 Slaves measured the success of midwives using standards that differed from those of owners.

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