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African American Women Arrival in Colonies

In 1619, the first African Americans arrived in the colonies. Only a handful of survivors had outlasted a gruesome sea voyage. They had all been taken during a raid of a Spanish ship that was sailing for the Spanish West Indies. During the next few years, many African Americans were uprooted from their homelands and forced into slavery. They were unwillingly taken from their families and tribes, forced onto slave ships, and forced to endure cruel treatment at the hands of their captors. Many of the African American women were sexually assaulted during their time on the ship, and in many cases, it would not stop when they reached port. Upon their arrival in the colonies, the slaves that survived would be auctioned off or used for collateral in trading or bartering. Originally, African Americans were given the title of an indentured servant, with the promise of being freed in their new land after 5-7 years of faithful service. However, that title quickly faded. As Americans grew to accept slavery, African Americans title of indentured servant quickly faded and their new title of slave emerged. With the new title, their masters owned them as if they were property. There was no promise of being freed; they were shackled to slavery for life.

The daily duties of an African American woman were extensive. African American women were made to perform hard labor, tasks that were seen as inferior by their white counterparts. An African American woman was a field worker, working with such crops as sugar, tobacco, rice, and other cash crops. She also tended to mid-wife duties, worked as domestic servants and washwomen. African American women were also expected to breed future slaves. Many African American women rebelled ag...

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...ccepted by others in the colonies. Virginia imposed a law upon people who were willing to participate in such relationships. If they were found to be breaking the law, they would be subject to fines and beatings. Mulatto children usually took on the status of their mothers. If the mother (whether African American or Caucasian) was free, the offspring would then be free also.

Although there is much more to be said on African American women in the colonies, I hope that this information will build a solid foundation of which knowledge can be built. It would be impossible to show all of the impact that African American women had on the colonies, or more importantly, the impact that the colonies had on them. However, it is clear to see that African American women took on many different roles. They were and remain a very important part of American History.

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