Origins of African America African Americans During the 18th Century Origins of Africans Who Arrived in 18th Century • 25% from Angola • Then from Ghana, Guinea • Largest number settled in South Carolina 1700s is especially important for 2 reasons • Century when the largest number of Africans arrived in the Americas or the New World • When African American population began to reproduce itself in colonial North America (No. America was the only place in the New World where the population reproduced itself) How Africans became North Americans • It happened differently in each of the 3 regions – Chesapeake (Virginia and Maryland) – Lower South (South Carolina & Georgia) – North (New England, New York, Pennsylvania) I. Chesapeake • Origins – Legal transformation of Africans into slaves happened first in Virginia (1661). – Difference between English colonies v. Latin colonies was that status followed the mother – Black = slave; white = free I. Chesapeake • 18th Century – Importation of African slaves greatly increased – Until 1740s, men outnumbered women 2:1 – From 1660s to 1740s, 75% of black pop came directly from Africa (previously, most blacks had come from Caribbean) After the 1740s in Chesapeake • 1740 marks decade when black population began to reproduce itself (Meaning that each women on average was giving birth to at least 2 children who lived to adulthood) After the 1740s in Chesapeake • 1000s of Africans continue to be imported into the community • Two groups of slaves existing side by side – those born in Africa and those born in Chesapeake Race Relations follow economy • In Virginia, life revolves around tobacco production • By time of American Revolution, blacks made up 1/3rd of population II. Lower South • Origins – From 1670s, Africans arrived in SC with planters from Barbados – Slavery in Barbados model for slavery in S. Car – Since many Africans had been born in Barbados, they could speak English and had absorbed English culture II. Lower South • 18th Century Lower South – Rice production – 1700 – 1775, 100,000 Africans brought into SC – 40% of Africans imported were from Angola Economy • Rice production leads to one of harshest & most exploitative forms of slavery in western hemisphere • Rice cultivation described as scale involving 100s of slaves on each industrial slavery because it occurred on such a large plantation • Very unhealthy work – swamp lands, standing in stagnant water for up to 10 hrs a day • Resulted in high death rates from small pox & malaria Cultural Implications • In West Africa, rice cultivation regarded as woman’s work • “You no man – take up hoe.” III. North • Origins and Facts – Slavery began in New York in 1826 when Dutch imported Africans from Dutch Antilles – By time of Revolution 10,000 blacks lived in N.York – 1641, Puritans in Massachusetts passed law permitting both slavery and indentured servitude Slavery Economy in the North • Concentrated in port cities of Philadelphia, Boston, and New York – Male slaves worked in shipping industry and for shopkeepers and artisans – Females worked as domestic servants – During 1770s, 70% of Boston’s wealthy merchants and bankers owned slaves – Most slaves were employed on small farms – But concentration of slaves was in esp. NYC Race Relations in North • Slavery in North was not as dehumanizing or as exploitative as in South • Slaves could more easily hire their own time and purchase their freedom • 5% of population was made up of African Americans by time of American Revolution • Northern slavery was often more isolating because of small number of blacks and racism Conclusion I • After 1740, slaves could begin to maintain family integrity • Slaves born in Chesapeake and North were acculturated to America • From 1740s, slaves begin converting to Christianity as a result of Great Awakening II Conclusion about community • Distinct African American culture and deep community life develops on large plantations • Culture is based on Christianity that is also influenced by African practices and notions of African spirituality II Conclusion about community • From Sunset to Sunup = African American community’s own time • African Americans would greatly influence practice of American evangelical Christianity III. Conclusion about Deep South • AAs maintained African culture in esp. South Carolina • Main cultural institution was the circle – which had spiritual and social meaning for West Africans • Wherever there was a black majority was where African culture and language were most retained – Gulag culture of Sea Islands • Very little direct contact with whites Questions?