In Africa, woman's primary social role was that of mother.In slavery, this aspect of African womanhood was debased.Men, for instance, might chop the wood for a fence, while women were put in charge of its construction. The activity of hoeing, in particular, speaks to several ways in which the institution of American slavery upset the gender roles men and women played in Africa before enslavement.In South Carolina, where rice was the dominant crop, men hoed the fields alongside women.For black men and women, slavery was an equally devastating experience. Both were forced to perform grueling labor, subjected to mental and physical degradation, and denied their most basic rights.Enslaved men and women were beaten mercilessly, separated from loved ones arbitrarily, and, regardless of sex, treated as property in the eyes of the law.Ironically, therefore, the task of hoeing also disturbed the gender identity of the female slave.In the American South, enslaved women wielding hoes were contributing to the commercial production of their masters, not to the nourishment of their families.
Phony promises of religious education lure children into forced begging in Senegal.
Despite common factors, however, the circumstances of enslavement were different for black women and black men.
The first slaves to be brought to the British colonies of North America were disproportionately male.
This cycle, encouraged by the master, was not without benefits to the mother.
While pregnant, she could usually expect more food and fewer working hours.
Landless farmworkers are enslaved on ranches and plantations in Brazil.