Every year, slaves usually received two linen shirts, two pairs of trousers , one jacket, one pair of socks, one pair of shoes, an overcoat, and a wool hat.
Slaves usually received cornmeal salt herrings, and eight pounds of pork or fish each month for food.
Slaves houses were usually wooden shacks with dirt floors, but sometimes houses were made of boards nailed up with cracks stuffed with rags. The beds were collected pieces of straw or grass, and old rags, and only one blanket for a covering. A single room could have up to a dozen people-men, women, and children.
When a slave was only 12 months old his/her mother could be sold far away. When a slave was four, they sometimes worked as a babysitter. When a slave was around the age of five, they would run errands and carry water to the field slaves. Around the age of eight, children would be expected to work on the plantation.
Over 32% of marriages were canceled by masters as a result of slaves being sold away from the family home. A slave husband could be parted from his wife, and children from their mothers.
Slaves could be killed for murder, burglary, arson, and assault upon a white person. Plantation owners believed that this severe discipline would make the slaves too scared to rebel.
In South Carolina one slave owner would put nails in a barrel sticking out on the inside of the barrel, then put the slave in and roll him/her down a very long and steep hill. Another punishment slave owners used was to whip their slaves. Other slave owners in Virginia smoked their slaves. This involved whipping them and putting them in a tobacco smokehouse.
Some other punishments were getting beaten with a chair, broom, tongs, shovel, shears, knife handles, the heavy end of a woman’s shoe, and an oak club.
On of the main reasons masters didn’t want their slaves to become Christians involved the Bible. This was one reason why most plantation owners did what they could to stop their slaves from learning to read. In the South, black people were not usually allowed to attend church services. Black people in the North were more likely to attend church services. Drums, which were used in traditional religious ceremonies, where banned because overseers worried that they would be used to send messages.
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