Slave children as young as seven years of age were expected to work on most plantations; these children were given different tasks that were deemed suitable by their masters, such as, making clothes or household items, serving food, working in the fields, caring for livestock and helping older slaves until the age of ten where their work became more routine (“Idle” King 76;77). On an Alabama plantation children were trained to be able to any type of work whether that be, working in the field or in the house (“To The Field” King 132). In Wilma King’s article “Us ain’t Never Idle” discusses the work some former slaves were given to do as children. One former house slave, Henry Bibb recalls having to scratch and rub his owners head and fan h...
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...ey were cared for and treated are a piece of history many seem to overlook rather than look into. The children of slaves were expected to learn multiple skills from housework to caring for crops, and work in most cases from sun up to sun down with little breaks. Many children were brutally beaten, sometimes without cause and had to face the fact that not only were their parents unable to protect them but, that their parents were also subjected to the same treatment and any protest to this treatment could result in more severe punishments. In addition to being subjected to such graphic violence that had kept many of these children under a state of continual fear, the children had to fear being separated and sold away from their families for the rest of their lives. While many parents had tried to help their children cope, the turmoil it had on the children was great.
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