What were the two key institutions of the African American slave community? How did they function, and what beliefs did they express?
Following the Revolution, came the movement of slavery in the United States. As the states was pushing for the freedom and emancipation of slaves, the economy became heavily dependent on cotton and the demand for slaves was back in action. Although the slave trade had stopped and states were no longer importing slaves, the population of slave communities had drastically increased. As they were put onto plantations, the work remained tedious and their masters stayed violent and powering over them. The slave communities worked through the hardships through two institutions, the family and the African American church and religion, which helped them live through slavery.
As had been true in the eighteenth century, families remained essential to African American culture. Although no southern state recognized slave marriages in law, masters encouraged marriage among their slaves, believing it made the men less rebellious, and they were eager for the slave women to have children. This created an opportunity for the slaves to express their love and intimacy through the adversity. Whatever marriages meant to the masters, to slaves they were a haven of love in a cruel world and the basis of the African American community. Differing from the marriage relationships between whites, the slaves had a more equal relationship between the husband and wife, with neither being more dependent or submissive. Marriage also meant continuity to the slaves. The parents made great efforts to teach their children family history and to surround them with a supportive and protective kinship network. Because of the movement and vast size of the internal slave trade, where many slaves inside of the states were being sold off to other
distant plantations, slave communities were well aware of the chance of separation between their families, and because of...
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