African American history |
Midterm Exam |
African American History |
Tamara R Cocklin |
Midterm History Essays |
The first slaves arrived in North America in 1619 and were already deciding ways in which to resist their situation and be free. How did slaves resist slavery? African and later their descendants, African-American slaves, had three ways in which they tried to resist slavery: rebellion, run away, or they could perform small, daily acts of resistance, such as reducing production by slowing down work.
The Stono Rebellion in 1739 and Nat Turner’s Rebellion in 1831 are the most prominent slave revolts in American history. The Stono Rebellion and Nat Turner’s Rebellion achieved a huge amount of success; however, white Southerners managed to derail other planned rebellions before any attack could take place often with the help of slaves that did not want to rebel for fear of punishment. But slaves came to the realization that it was extremely difficult to mount a rebellion. Whites greatly outnumbered slaves. The slave population never reached a point in which they could overcome the guns of the white populace.
Running away was another form of resistance that the slaves could use. Slaves who ran away most often managed it for a short period of time. These runaway slaves often hid in a nearby forest or went to visit a relative or spouse at a nearby plantation. They did so to escape a harsh punishment that had been threatened or just to escape the drudgery of everyday life as a slave.
Others managed to run away permanently. When northern states began to abolish slavery after the Revolutionary War, the North came to symbolize freedom to many slaves. They used the hidden words in Spirituals to deliver messages to other slaves to let them know to follow the North Star to find their freedom. For instance, the spiritual “Follow the Drinking Gourd” made reference to the Big Dipper and the North Star...