how was the life of a child slave in the 19th century?
like what was their diet
what activities/tasks were done by them
- ?Lv 77 years agoFavorite Answer
Very young children weren't usually assigned any work. They might be tended to by an older woman who isn't fit for field work anymore. The children of course would generally be stuck in the same sort of physical conditons as the other slaves. They'd have low quality clothes, poor quality food and not much of it, and live in poor quality housing. As children got older they'd generally be assigned some lighter work around the plantation like maybe minding some animals, helping clean up, collecting sticks or something. Generally they'd be expected to assume "adult" labor responsibilities by what we'd now call the "tween" years.
- JVHawai'iLv 77 years ago
That matter varied a great deal ::: and be aware that there was slavery all over The World on the 19th Century. In America, up to 1865, during an era that Tea Party Republ;icans called "The Good Ole Days," Slavery was the law of the Land in many American States, and a brutual fact of life in the American South on to Texas, a state whose citizens had fought against Mexico in order to own slaves.
Focusing on an American Slave Child, they were expected to work from age five or six, the sort of simple chores any child should be able to manage. Gathering up firewood, hoeing weeds, watching over farm animals. By age ten, a healthy robust child would be expected to do hardier adult work. Pretty much by age twelve or thirteen childhood was over, adult work was the norm. Since s slave had no rights, by age twelve boys & girls could expect to be sexually exploited.
Food varied, much depended on the master. Grits, bacon, cornmeal bread and mash, turnips and turnip greans, if they were lucky they might get chicken once or twice a week, watermelons were easy to grown and became a sterotype food. Stews mostly of tripe and offal, the coarsest cuts of beef.
It was not always a hard life. Kids being more flexible than adults they were encouraged to dance, they could share their love for music, they were often encouraged to sing and some masters/mistresses would reward them for having a sweet voice, maybe a piece of cake or some time off from hard work.
"Naturally" some masters thought that by forcing themselves on a child that they were giving them a special treat. A smart child might work that to their advantage.
- tuffyLv 77 years ago
On some of the larger plantations many of the newborns were raised by female slaves in the master's home or slave quarters near the masters home, The smart ones were trained as master carpenters, metal workers, mechanics or other skilled tradesmen.
- Louise CLv 77 years ago
In 'America's Women' Gail Collins writes:
'Small boys and girls frequently played with white children, unaware of their different status. "This was the happiest period of my life, for I was too young to rightly understand my condition" wrote Mary Price. They played marbles, skipping rope, and pitched horseshoes. One ex-slave remembered holding make believe auctions in which the children "sold" each other, taking pride in the high prices they imagined they might bring. But when white children began to learn to read, the black children went to work. Girls put on skirts and learnt to light bedroom fires in the morning, make beds, polish shoes and silver and carry food from the kitchen - which was usually seperate from the house - to the dining room. They washed dishes, gathered eggs, and "minded flies" by brushing them from the white folk. Slave girls were sometimes assigned, at a remarkably young age, to care for white infants. Ellen Betts said that when she was a small eight-year-old, she was put in charge of babies "so big and fat I had to tote the feet while another girl tote the head."
Angelina Grimke recalled seeing slave children "kept the whole winter's evening, sitting on the stair-case in a cold entry, just to be at hand to snuff candles or hand a tumbler of water from the sideboard."
Half the southern slaves worked for small farmers, who lived in houses only slightly more impressive than the slave cabins on large plantations. A former slave in Nashville whose master hired her out to a working class family said that she was required to "nurse, cook, chop in the fields, chop wood, bring water, wash, iron, and in general just do everything." She was six years old at the time.'
(while not wishing to excuse the treatment of slave children, for the sake of putting things in context, it should be noted that a great many white children, if they were poor, would also have been put to work at an early age, children could in that era could go to work from a very young age, and many did).Source(s): America's Women, 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines by Gail Collins
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- 7 years ago
Children slaves were assigned to do field work and to tend to animals. Their diets were very small.