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Assignment: The Slave Child - Freshman Essays

Assignment: The Slave Child


1.Read llick, American Childhoods chapter 3 ( pp. 37-51) (click) and an article concerning the education of slave children. Slave education, Wiki article. (click)

2.Also read . Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Written By Himself, 1845

The whole book– only 100 pages– can be read on linesadclick)

Answer these questions completely. Don’t forget to proof read. Write not to the professor, but to a curious and thoughtful friend.

1. Professor Illick points out that the slaves who were imported to the West Indies or North America often came from cultures which themselves supported slavery. But slavery in West Africa was quite different from slavery in North America. Using your book and on-line sources (please indicate in your answer what they are) explain why in many respects American slavery was more pernicious than African.

2. “Slavery,” wrote Frederick Douglass, ” has no use for fathers or families.” What did he mean by that? Why does his own life story help explain his attitude.

3. It is often argued that the African American family is weak– fathers are often absent– because of the damage done by slavery. But is that so? In your reading reference is found to the work of Herbert Gutman. How might Gutman’s research be used to refute the argument that the institution of slavery explains the alleged weakness of African American family structure.

4. At first white Americans encouraged black slaves to read. Why did they do that? Then they stopped teaching them and in the South, it actually became illegal to teach an African American to read. Why?

5 Read Fred. Douglass Narrative. Write a letter to a friend who is curious but otherwise does not know Frederick Douglas. In writing about the book –giving the pros and cons–explain why this might be a helpful source on the childhood of slaves.……