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How Slaves Challenged/Resisted Or Coped With Slavery


Slaves started to arrive in North America around 1619, which affected the economic system until 1865; this is when the 13th Amendment abolished it.  You are probably wondering with the conditions that they worked under how did the slaves resist against their slaveholders, well they could rebel, some just ran away, while others just made smaller resistance by doing their work slow.  One of the most successful rebellions was the Stono Rebellion.  On the morning of September 9, 1739, twenty slaves meet up at Stono River.  This rebellion was pre planned and they started their day by gathering firearms from a shop in town by killing the owner.  They marched down the main road in Charleston carrying signs that read “liberty” while they sang and beat drums.

As the slaves marched they stopped at businesses and homes to recruit more slaves and murdered the families that owned them.  They even burnt homes as well.  The only white soul they spared was the innkeeper to the Wallace Tavern because he treated his slaves with respect and kindness.  The group was headed to Florida but only made it about ten miles because once they went to rest, the militia found them and killed forty four of them and twenty one whites lost their lives as well.  The ones that escaped were decapitated and displayed on posts to keep the slaves in line.

Running away was one of the other resistances that slaves did, some would run away to see family on another plantation or they would hide in the forest.  They did this to escape punishment, get rest, or just to escape the life.  Some slaves ran away permanently.  After the Revolutionary War, the northern states abolished slavery and that is where slaves would flee.  You can read all about some of these experiences in Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Running away was very dangerous and if caught would lead to severe punishment from their masters.

Most slaves coped with their day to day with religion; it was usually their religion from their homeland or new faith that they established once they came to North America.  This helped them cope with the horrible things that happen to them everyday and know that someone was looking out for them.  They also coped by starting families because most masters saw this as free slaves given to them so they didn’t disapprove of them starting families.  But this also gave them right to the children, which allowed them to sell them off.

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