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Slave Culture

  • Date Submitted: 01/25/2013 10:41 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 35.4 
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Slave Culture Preserved

From the early 1600’s until 1865 when the 13th Amendment became part of the Constitution, America’s economic foundations were built on the backs of African Americans who were taken to America against their will. Although life was very rough for them, and many of them died or were split up from their family, they somehow proved very tenacious and held a grasp on some important aspects of their culture. In fact, African Americans even created a distinctive culture during their time in slavery, in part to make up for what they had lost, but also to continue expanding the rich elements of their previously established intellectual achievements. During slavery, African Americans created a particular culture in how they expressed and conducted themselves by implementing the use of oral traditions and also by adapting when dealing with the harsh realities of slave families during the time period.
Folktales such as “Br’er Rabbit” not only gave slaves a chance to create alternate realities in which they could experience revenge and other forbidden impulses, but they also imparted practical knowledge such as survival and coping strategies to listeners. Br’er Rabbit is a trickster who succeeds by his wits rather than by brawn, tweaking authority figures and bending social mores as he sees fit. This story inspired many slaves to take on the character traits of this fictional character and gave them hope that maybe one day, they could also bend social mores by use of their wits to gain freedom from their masters. The creation of this distinctive culture (oral tradition in the form of storytelling) provides a great example that attests to the legacy of the African America slave.
During slavery, many African American families were broken up by the sale of a member of the family, and yet, family connections were often preserved, many even rejoining after the Civil War. Slaves who were sold and moved on to new plantations or farms connected with...


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