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Gabriela Del Valle

March 25th, 2019


Perspectives on Beloved Essay

Slavery began in the early 1600s. African Americans were taken from Africa and
brought to the American in order to be slaves for them. African American men, women,
and children were put to work for American people. During the 18th century it was
estimated that 6 to 7 million black slaves were imported to America. The slaves were
usually put to work on rice and tobacco plantations, but other’s, mainly women, would
work inside their slave owners house and help clean. The conditions they worked in
were very dangerous. They would have to work in the heat and snow no matter what.
They got very little food and were treated extremely poorly by their slave owners. They
were given names by their slave owner and they had no power or say in anything. They
were treated like animals more than treated like people.
Every African American person was discriminated and treated as property
instead of a human because they would get beaten and tortured if they did something
wrong or tried to escape. All of them were scared during this time period and prayed
that they could escape slavery. Women were treated very poorly during this time
because they were African American and a women. Both white and African American
women were told to do things by men and they had no rights of their own, but African
Americans women were treated more inhumane than white women. The sole purpose
of African American women, according to men, were to reproduce and give them more
slaves. “The average enslaved woman at this time gave birth to her first child at
nineteen years old, and thereafter, bore one child every two and a half years (Hallem,
2004).“ Women were forced to have children to ensure that they had slaves to work for
them. Pregnant women would get a little extra food and didn’t work as long, but they
would still get beaten and tortured if they were to do something wrong and they never
had a good place to sleep.
Many slaves thought of escape and many of them tried and got away, but many
were get caught trying to escape and would then get beaten almost to death. African
Americans were scared to escape because they were afraid of being caught and then
having to face their master. In the story of Margaret Garner, she was a mother of four
and tried to escape with them and her husband. Escaping with children was very difficult
especially if they were babies because they are extra weight and it’s hard to run with a
child in your hands, but then you also have to worry about getting food for them if they
are a bit older. Margaret Garner was a slave mother who killed her own child rather than
see it taken back to slavery. “Margaret, the mother of four children, declared that she
would kill herself and her children before she would return to bondage (Coffin, 1880).”
Many other women felt like this and had similar thoughts because they wanted their
children to not go through slavery and all they could do was pray that their child would
be ok. Many slaves contemplated suicide because slavery was horrible and they
couldn’t take it anymore.
In Frederick Douglass narrative he wrote himself that he contemplated suicide,
but held onto hope of being free. “I often found myself regretting my own existence, and
wishing myself dead; and but for the hope of being free, I have no doubt but that I
should have killed myself, or done something for which I should have been killed
(Douglas, 46).” This shows how many slaves had similar thoughts about ending their
lives because they couldn’t take slavery anymore and they couldn’t take working as a
slave and being someone’s property. Slavery was a dark period for everyone. Even
after slavery ‘ended’ there was still segregation and racial issues. The government
came up with ‘separate but equal’ which was not equal whatsoever. African Americans
and whites had separate bathrooms, drinking fountains and schools. Whites had the
better and newer bathrooms, drinking fountains, and schools. After slavery, whites
believed that everything was fine because they weren’t forced to work for anyone, but
segregation was just as terrible as slavery. The only difference was that they weren’t
kept as prisoners. African Americans still couldn’t vote or sit in the front of a bus.
Slavery may have ‘ended’, but there are still discrimination towards African Americans
and people need to start learning about what really happened during slavery.
While reading Beloved, I couldn’t even understand or think what went through the
character Sethe’s mind when she killed her child. I could never imagine killing a child of
mine, but if I was put in Sethe’s shoes, I might've done what she did. The book Beloved,
is based off of Margaret Garner story and I had no idea it was based on a true story. I
am a high school student and I have never heard the name Margaret Garner and I’m
pretty sure a lot of other’s haven’t heard of her either. Slavery caused Garner to do this
to her child and no one is taking the time to understand what she went through and how
bad slavery really was because people keep trying to brush off the topic. Slavery
happened and it’s still being brought up today because it was such a huge part of our
nation's history. Books like Beloved and the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
were made to show people how terrible slavery was and how it affected many people.
This story affected many women because it shows what a mother would do in order to
protect their child from the harms of slavery and as a mother, they just want the best for
their child. I may not be a mother, but I know that when I do have children, I would want
them to be safe and do anything I can to protect them from something I know is bad.
In conclusion, women have always been discriminated especially during Slavery
and they did whatever they had to do in order to protect themselves and their children.
Slavery may have been a terrible experience for both men and women, but women had
a very difficult time getting through slavery because they were treated as a reproductive
machine. Slave owners only cared about having slaves work for them and just used
women to get slaves for them. Women couldn't name their babies because they would
get sold and taken away and given a new name by their new slave owners. Women
today are still getting discriminated and aren’t given full attention to issues that are
affecting them. There are still people out there who think of women as objects and
property and kidnap them for their reasons. Women are afraid to be alone at night
because they fear that someone could kidnap them and take advantage of them. We as
a society need to stop discriminating women and start treating us as equals in this
world.
Works Cited Page

Douglass, Frederick, et al. ​Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: an American Slave,
Written by Himself.​ Burk Classics, 2013.

Editors, History.com. “Slavery in America.” ​History.com,​ A&E Television Networks, 12 Nov.


2009, www.history.com/topics/black-history/slavery.

Hallam, Jennifer. “Slavery and the Making of America . The Slave Experience: Men, Women &
Gender | PBS.” ​THIRTEEN,​ Educational Broadcasting Corporation, 2004,
www.thirteen.org/wnet/slavery/experience/gender/history.html.

Lab, Digital Scholarship. “The History Engine.” ​History Engine: Tools for Collaborative Education
and Research | Episodes,​ University of Richmond, 2008,
historyengine.richmond.edu/episodes/view/5372.

Williams, Heather. “How Slavery Affected African American Families.” ​How Slavery Affected
African American Families, Freedom's Story, TeacherServe®, National Humanities
Center,​ National Humanities Center, 2010,
nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/freedom/1609-1865/essays/aafamilies.htm.

Vagins, Deborah. “The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap.” ​AAUW​, 2019,
www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/.