African American Women Under Slavery Essay

2412 Words May 30th, 2012 10 Pages
African American Women Under Slavery This paper discusses the experiences of African American Women under slavery during the Slave Trade, their exploitation, the secrecy, the variety of tasks and positions of slave women, slave and ex-slave narratives, and significant contributions to history. Also, this paper presents the hardships African American women faced and the challenges they overcame to become equal with men in today’s society. Slavery was a destructive experience for African Americans especially women. Black women suffered doubly during the slave era.
Slave Trade For most women who endured it, the experience of the Slave Trade was one of being outnumbered by men. Roughly one African woman was carried across the
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Exploitation The slave owner’s exploitation of the black woman’s sexuality was one of the most significant factors differentiating the experience of slavery for males and females. The white man’s claim to the slave body, male as well as female, was inherent in the concept of the Slave Trade and was tangibly realized perhaps no where more than the auction block. Captive Africans were stripped of their clothing, oiled down, and poked and prodded by potential buyers. The erotic undertones of such scenes were particularly pronounced in the case of black women. Throughout the period of slavery in America, white society believed black women to be innately lustful beings. The perception of the African woman as hyper-sexual made her both the object of white man’s abhorrence and his fantasy. Within the bonds of slavery, masters often felt it was their right to engage in sexual activity with black women. Sometimes, female slaves made advances hoping that such relationships would increase the chances that they or their children would be liberated by the master. Most of the time, slave owners took slaves by force. For the most part, masters made young, single slaves the objects of their sexual pursuits. They did on occasion rape married women. The inability of the slave husband to protect his wife from such violation points to another fundamental aspect of the relationship between enslaved
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