Slavery: What was it really like for women?

Essay by aznXsa2587 September 2006

download word file, 6 pages 3.4

"Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women. Superadded to the burden common to all, they have wrongs, sufferings, and mortifications peculiarly their own" (223).

This excerpt is such a strong and powerful statement, but it is an excerpt that shows some direct evidence of the suffering of African American enslaved women. African Americans carried a huge burden because of slavery, but black women had to carry a double burden because of their biological makeup. To be a black woman in slavery was absolutely the lowest point in society, for an enslaved woman, it was an experience of emotional, mental, and physical anguish.

Black women bore so many burdens during the time of slavery. Besides taking care of the children, families, and chores, they had to face the threat of sexual exploitation. When Harriet Jacobs first talks about bringing her new-born babe into this world, the first thing on her mind is realizing that her daughter will have to endure all the pain and suffering that she has.

Black men did not have to worry about being rapped, like the black women did. Slave masters used black women for their sexual pleasures. If a slave woman rejected her master's advances, punishment was unbearable:

"Sometimes when my master found that I still refused to accept what he called his kind offers, he would threaten to sell my child. 'Perhaps that will humble you, said he' " (222).

If someone were to hear these words, what would they think? A mother would do anything for her child, even if that meant giving up her beliefs and values in order to protect her innocent, this meant giving into the slave masters advances for the protection of her young.

Some slave women were even bought at auction blocks just...