What was life like for Southern slaves?
Life on the fields meant working sunup to sundown six days a week and having food sometimes not suitable for an animal to eat. Plantation slaves lived in small shacks with a dirt floor and little or no furniture. Life on large plantations with a cruel overseer was oftentimes the worst.
What was plantation life like in the South?
Life on Southern Plantations represented a stark contrast of the rich and the poor. Slaves were forced to work as field hands in a grueling labor system, supervised by an overseer and the strict rules of the plantation owners. However, only a small percentage of Southerners were actually wealthy plantation owners.
What was the average life span of a slave on a plantation?
As a result of this high infant and childhood death rate, the average life expectancy of a slave at birth was just 21 or 22 years, compared to 40 to 43 years for antebellum whites. Compared to whites, relatively few slaves lived into old age.
How did slaves live in the southern colonies?
Many slaves lived on large farms called plantations. These plantations produced important crops traded by the colony, crops such as cotton and tobacco. Each plantation was like a small village owned by one family. That family lived in a large house, usually facing a river.
What was family life like for slaves?
A father might have one owner, his “wife” and children another. Some enslaved people lived in nuclear families with a mother, father, and children. In these cases each family member belonged to the same owner. Others lived in near-nuclear families in which the father had a different owner than the mother and children.
What did the slaves eat?
Weekly food rations — usually corn meal, lard, some meat, molasses, peas, greens, and flour — were distributed every Saturday. Vegetable patches or gardens, if permitted by the owner, supplied fresh produce to add to the rations. Morning meals were prepared and consumed at daybreak in the slaves’ cabins.
How many hours of sleep did the slaves get?
Sixteen to eighteen hours of work was the norm on most West Indian plantations, and during the season of sugarcane harvest, most slaves only got four hours of sleep.