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Essay on Enslavement Disrupted the African’s Authentic Culture

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There was a misconception that African people did not have any culture and they were not civilized. But they had a culture that was similar to that of the Europeans and other races. However it was interrupted when the Europeans decided to take them from Africa and transplant them in America as slaves. As a result, their authentic cultures were drastically changed from the way of life in their native Africa to life in the plantation society of the Americas. In this essay, I will attempt to show how the conditions of enslavement disrupted all dimensions of the African’s authentic culture. To aid in my analysis, I will be using the “Reid Culture Conflict Model” as a guide and also drawing upon the works of Olaudah Equiano, Venture Smith, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Jacobs, and William Wells Brown, the song “Pick a Bale of Cotton” from The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, as well as from the movie NightJohn.
The family structure in Africa was complex. Men were allowed to keep many wives legally. As Venture Smith a slave from Guinea states “My father had three wives. Polygamy want not uncommon in that country, especially among the rich, as every man was allowed to keep as many wives as he could maintain” (170-171). In addition to having multiple wives, there were also a number of children and slaves. In his narrative, Oludah Equiano, an African from the village of Essaka indicates, “”My father, besides many slaves, had a numerous family, of which seven lived to grow up, including myself and a sister, who was the only daughter” (200). The family units in Africa were very close knit.
The political system in Africa consists of kings, queens, chiefs and elders, who held the authority in many villages such as in Ve...


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...ritten by Himself.” Gates and McKay. 387-483. Print
Equiano, Olaudah. “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavas Vassa, the African, Written by Himself.” Gates and McKay. 189-213. Print
“Pick a Bale of Cotton.” Gates and McKay. 41. Print
Jacobs, Harriet. “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.” Gates and McKay 280-310. Print.
Reid, Hazil. “Culture Conflict Model for Examining Systems of Slavery/Opression”
Smith, Venture. “A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, A Native of Africa: But Resident above Sixty Years in the United States of America.” Gates and McKay 170-185. Print.
Nightjohn. Dir. Charles Burnett. Perf. Allison Jones, Beau Bridges, Carl Lumby, Bills Cobbs, Kathleen York, Lorraine Toussaint, Gabriel Casseus, John Herina, Tom Nowicki, DannyNelson, Bill Gribble. Hallmark Entertainment. 1996. Streaming Netflix.


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