African Americans During the 18th Century

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
• 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
• It happened differently in each of the 3
– Chesapeake (Virginia and Maryland)
– Lower South (South Carolina & Georgia)
– North (New England, New York,
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
– Black = slave;
white = free
I. Chesapeake
• 18th Century
– Importation of African slaves greatly
– 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
After the 1740s in Chesapeake
• 1000s of Africans
continue to be
imported into the
• Two groups of slaves
existing side by side –
those born in Africa
and those born in
Race Relations follow economy
• In Virginia, life
revolves around
tobacco production
• By time of American
Revolution, blacks
made up 1/3rd of
II. Lower South
• Origins
– From 1670s, Africans
arrived in SC with
planters from Barbados
– Slavery in Barbados
model for slavery in S.
– 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
– 40% of Africans imported were from Angola
• Rice production leads to one of
harshest & most exploitative
forms of slavery in western
• 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
– 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
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
• 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
III. Conclusion about Deep South
• AAs maintained African culture in esp. South
• Main cultural institution was the circle – which
had spiritual and social meaning for West
• 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