Slavery and making of America discussion board

Please answer the following questions with thought and attention.

Due 11/20 @ 11:59pm

1. Describe the life of Harriet Jacobs as a house slave. Be sure to note the fear that was a constant part of her life, the troubles of being pretty, and her relationship with her owner’s wife. Also think about this: Was her life harder, considering what she faced in that home, than if she had been a field hand?

2. Harriet had an affair with a lawyer named Sawyer that resulted in two children being born. Describe her fear for what would become of these children and the ultimate sacrifice she makes for them.

3. Explain religion’s role in slave life and rebellion. Describe the purpose for exposing slaves to Christianity, what they got of out church, have it related to the Nat Turner rebellion and the white response.

4. Solomon Northrop, a free man sold into slavery,  is an example of the sickness that profits from cotton and slavery created in America. Tell me what you found most troubling about any of the slave accounts seen tonight.

5. Explain this statement from Thomas Sumner: The American economy is a conspiracy of the “lords of looms and lords of lash.”

6. Why was Harriet Jacobs railroad car ride to New York City a good metaphor for the treatment of blacks in the north?

7. One of the things that always strikes me when I show this video is just how easy it was to be cruel. What was it for you?

8. How did being a mother add heartache and fear to being a slave? As a man or women (depending on your sex) what would have been the greatest indignity for you?


One comment

  1. 1. Harriet had a hard life. Even though she worked inside of the house she was mentally tormented by the doctor. The reason he tormented her was because she was pretty. Being a slave and being pretty was a curse. A slaveholder wanted EVERYTHING from you if you were pretty. She probably faced harder issues in the home because the doctor was trying to be personally invovled with her and the doctor’s wife was cruel to her as well. If your husband slept with slaves and didnt sleep with you i think you would be a little ticked off.

    2.Her fear for her children is that the doctor would sell them and she would never be able to see them again. She was also probably worried that the doctor might abuse her children as well because she didnt have them with him. The ultimate sacrifice that Harriet made for her children was risking her own life to run away so the doctor could do no harm to the children.

    3.Religion played a large role in slave life. Churches used to look down upon slaveholders, but when they started to allow them in, they also allowed in their slaves. They let them in because they needed more people and the slaveholders allowed thier slaves to attned church because it was supposed to teach them obedience. Slaves got out of church that life would get better for them just like it did for the israelites. The Nat Turner Rebellion was linked to the church because Nat was a preacher for slaves. The slaves rebelled and killed anyone that stood in their way. The whites fought back brutally killing every black they got thier hands on. They put their heads on fence poles to warn other slaves not to revolt.

    4. The most troubling was the both the fact that they punished their slaves brutally when they retaliated, and how powerless anyone with dark skin felt. Just like Solomon a free black man could be taken and then sold back into slavery just because the South wanted to make a bigger profit. It was just sickening to think that they fouhgt a war with britain for FREEDOM and all they did was take other people’s FREEDOM away.

    5. The lords of the looms were in the North, they produced the cotton clothing and shipped it around the world. The lords of the lash were in the South the slaveholders that lashed their slaves and made profit off of thier labor. The saying was ment to state that the entire economy depended on slaves, without them there would probably be no economy. Also it was ment to state that slavery wasn’t just one sided, it belonged to both the north and the south.

    6.She and other black passengers were put in a nasty car and they traveled very far in the cramped space. The North was just as racist as in the South.

    7. It did show me how easy it was for people to be cruel on all sides, slaves, north and south. The North was cruel to blacks even though they were supposedly anti-slavery. The South was cruel to slaves and took away free men’s Freedom. And the slaves, when they revolted horridly. If they would have done it a little more sophisticated, not killing innocent women and children, they might have gotten somewhere with the slavery issue.

    8. I don’t think either indignity is higher or lesser than the other. If a man loses his pride and courage, plus he cant do anything to protect his family, that is the most powerless thing i have ever heard in my life. And a woman with her children being taken away from her, and being poked just to be sold to some old man who is probably going to rape her. Being a slave was undignified enough, but losing the only thing a human with nothing still has, is just plain cruel.

    Sorry these are late!!

    Christina Haskins

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