Life for a slave was unsurprisingly hard. The children of slaves were born into slavery themselves, and were considered property¬†of the master¬†from the moment they were born, not children as part of a family. They were often sold several times throughout their life, often starting as early as age 3.
Some slave girls were able to play with other slave girls, or served as a companion for a¬†daughter of the master, but most of life their was spent in work in the fields or the house. When they could, they¬†played marbles, with hoops or rings, and London Bridge. Work was dictated by the master; some slaves were sent to the fields or for housework, but others were trained in specific skills ‚Äì such as horse riders or basket makers.¬†By learning these skills, some were able to hire themselves out in their free time and eventually buy their freedom. If they were a¬†house slave, the physical labor might be less difficult, but women¬†could also face sexual abuse from the white members of the house.
The main activities for slaves of any age were work and church socials. A very few slaves might have learned to read, but what little education a slave recieved normally came only from the Bible and church; most slaves were forbidden from learning to read, since reading gave them¬†access to knowledge, and thus power. However, the¬†character of a master had a great impact on slave life ‚Äì some master were kind, and even educated the children, whereas others were harsh, and slaves were whipped or worse for even minor transgressions.¬†Living conditions were dictated by the mistress, but slaves often lived in communal slave cabins or private shacks. Clothing was generally provided: slaves were¬†often given one pair of shoes, one pair of socks/stockings, one hat, a jacket, two shirts, and two pairs of trousers a year, and expected to make due with these things. Sadly, many slaves only had the tiniest hope of achieving their own freedom.
Girl Museum Inc.