It thus created an unbalanced sex ratio. Moreover, for what concerns the positions of the African and American slave women, slave women worked on the plantations and performed the same difficult work assigned to male slaves. Women worked in the fields alongside the men. However, pregnant women and also nursing mothers were often given lighter work, such as the “trash gang”. Trash gang was a gang of hands which consisted of pregnant, nursing and elderly women.
In this short story, the details of Tempie are not to explicit; however, the memories that Tempie had allow the readers to take a glimpse of what life used to be for those living in slavery. In Tempie’s writing it is apparent that her life as a slave had some negative and positive experiences. She was able to have children, be married, and learn at her plantation; whereas, on other plantations was strictly working all the time, marriages were not allowed, and some woman had children that belonged to their owners. Tempie was aware of what her role was on and the rules the owners had on the plantation. Her narrative describes a life lived as a slave in times where people were whipped, beaten, and sexually abused.
House slaves consisted of servants, maids, and butlers. They were normally treated better than the field slaves (Biel 14). They got to be inside most of the time. Owners of house slaves would usually not beat them because they wanted the slaves to look presentable for whatever guests arrived or stopped by. With house slaves, the owner’s family enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle (Biel 14).
But they were exceptions to the general rule. Most blacks in America were slaves on plantation-sized units in the seven states of the South. And with the invent of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney, more slaves were needed to work the ever-growing cotton game (Frazier, 14). The size of the plantations varied with the wealth of the planters. There were small farmers with two or three slaves, planters with ten to thirty slaves and big planters who owned a thousand or more slaves.
Also, the north had a much different economy than the south. Slaves worked in factories or shops and could take on work outside of their holder’s trade. This made the north a much different place than the south with views on what freed or enslaved blacks could do. Frederick was moved around frequently transferring from master to master. Like many slaves, it was not uncommon for a slave to be moved around multiple times and have different masters.
At the end, it was unusual for a slave to know how to read and write. They were just there to perform work and didn’t really see life outside of the plantation to be motivated to learn. A female domestic slave, her relationship with the slave master would be a rough one. For a fact that the female slave was also a sex object to the slave master. If the slave were to disobey the master’s orders, the female slave would get punished for not following orders.
In the homes of the slave owners, they had house slaves. These slaves were generally treated better by the slave owner and their family. They did jobs such as household tasks like doing the dishes and doing the laundry. Often these slaves were treated as one of the family because they were always in the house helping. Some slaves trained to become factory workers, construction workers, working on canals or on roads.
These questions and more will be addressed in the following pagesWhen slaves were purchased off the ships from Africa, they ended up on plantations. The size and location of landholdings depended on the crop and the owner who purchased the slave. Most plantations were of the smaller variety and it was rare for an owner to have more than 20 slaves. Most housed only a handful of slaves, but no matter what the numbers, plantation life was pretty much the same for most slaves. Slaves were usually divided into two groups, the gang crew (usually male and did the field work) and the task crew (usually female and worked in the "big house").
In both sharecropping and tenant farming, former slaves still felt like slaves, the only difference being that the landowners didn’t have as much control over them. Now that whites didn’t “own” slaves they had to pay workers to harvest their crops, which they had trouble doing. Along with the negatives of sharecropping and tenant farming, there were some positives. Freed African Americans would have trouble getting jobs but landowners needed help to harvest their crops because they no longer had their slaves to do it. Sharecropping gave the freed African Americans a chance to get a job and make due until they can find another one that would help support them.
Some plantation owners preferred to buy women because they could do the hard work and bear children. This caused women to outnumber men in gang systems. Female slaves had a lot of responsibilities, such as work on the plantation, producing children and working in the household. Household slaves were seen to be better off than plantation slaves and their tasks included cooking, cleaning and taking care of their slave owner’s children (Hallam, 2004). Jacobs (1861) says, “why does a slave ever love?