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MLA
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History
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Research The Lives of Enslaved People in America (Essay Sample)

Instructions:

move beyond these facets of America's “peculiar institution,” and consider the lives of enslaved people themselves. Write a 3-4 page paper that analyzes the source base I selected. What can historians learn from reading this selection of slave narratives? Your paper should have an argument, use specific examples from the narratives as evidence, and offer analysis of your evidence that supports your argument. Your argument should be derived from the sources themselves. What stands out to you in your source base? What does it tell us about slavery? How does it help us understand the antebellum period? What doesn't it tell us? In your analysis, you should consider the dynamics of the interview itself –when it took place, who conducted it, and how these things might have shaped what you are reading. For more on this issue, consult the following supplemental sources: “A Note on the Language of the Narratives” (https://www.loc.gov/collections/slave-narratives-from-the-federal-writers-project-1936-to-1938/articles-and-essays/note-on-the-language-of-the-narratives/) and “An Introduction to the WPA Slave Narratives” (https://www.loc.gov/collections/slave-narratives-from-the-federal-writers-project-1936-to-1938/articles-and-essays/introduction-to-the-wpa-slave-narratives/). No outside research is required. Source base has been attached.

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The lives of enslaved people in America
Introduction
Different individuals have narrated their past experiences as slaves in America prior and post-war period as historic memories. The narrators are specifically people who went through the hardship of slavery but they survived till the time of freedom and liberation. The slaves’ lives were shaped by their experience as they stayed and worked for their masters during their period of slavery. The narrated stories depict a great disparity between the narrators who were the slaves to the white people and their masters. The disparity was in the standards of living, access to social and public amenities, health services, access to quality education and even the slaves’ treatment by the masters. This paper provides a clear analysis of different individual experiences as they narrate on their slavery live to create a history relevant for educational purpose.
The slaves experienced a hard life during and even after slavery. Every white man will take advantage of the slaves due to their poverty, low-quality education and social status. Water long, the former slaves narrator of age 83 narrate that most of them were mistreated, overworked, introduced to force labor, whipped, poorly paid, and they all led a poverty lives that was not pleasing to narrate. Since most of them were not educated, they could barely remember their exact experiences or even the dates of happenings. Many former slaves could only relate ideas to provide clarity on what exactly happened. From even the oral narrations, one could tell that most of the former slaves were not educated or had minimal academic knowledge. “De slaves never learned to read and write”, one of the narrators disclosed.
Most of the slaves were working at the agricultural farms for the white people. They were paid poorly and being overworked by most of their masters. The slaves were expected to work for long hours with no resting time or even provision of meals. Children were born in slavery, grew up and continued to work for the white masters where their parents were working for. For instance Folklore, a former slave from Greenwood narrated that “I was born on the de plantation of Master John Mobley, in Fairfield County, South Carolina…” whereby the parents were a slave at that plantation. The masters were always cruel to their slaves and used to harass them openly. The slaves developed fear toward the masters the narrator who argues that their bosses were fierce “dere faces carried de awfullest look what you is ever seed on any man’s face”
Women and children who were lucky could work at home in assisting to cook, carry out cleaning, fetch water and firewood and look after cows “Her mother’s work was around the house, such as cleaning the house, washing, milking the cow etc”. The old women were also enslaved whereby in many cases were required to carry out simple tasks at the homesteads. However, some masters were inhuman and could even punish the old people and women. For example, one of the narrators states that “Mr. Smith would go to whip her mother for some reason…”, referring to the old woman who worked at their homestead. These are among the mistreatment that the slaves experienced before they got their freedom.
Other works that the slaves used to do as illustrated by Amie Lumpkin of age 88 from Fairfield were working in their masters’ businesses, blacksmith workshops, white masters’ house gardens, mining and cutting down of trees to make charcoal. Men slaves who were strong and energetic were taken to war to fight for the white people against their enemies. Many slaves were killed during the war period since they were not experienced and were not provided with proper weapons.
Lumpkin narrated that during their slavery, they were denied a lot of freedoms. For instance, the slaves were not allowed to own churches. Children from the slaves’ family could not go to church as they were working with their parents in the masters’ farms or homestead. The slaves were punished badly if they were caught doing wrong things like stealing, being rude, failing to perform their duties, or even trying to escape from the bondage of their slavery. Trials in most cases were injustice with the slaves having always been the one on the wrong side.
However, some masters were good and kind to their slaves. They provided them with a conducive environment, good food, and good houses to sleep and maintained a good relationship with them. Others could even protect the slaves from being hurt or punished by their white masters. For example, Mrs. Smith would always stop her husband from whipping the old woman living with them as a slave and other slaves. Another narrator provided an evidence of individuals with justice actions in treating t...
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