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Historical context of American Slavery

Historical context of American Slavery

American slave trade began as a part of Atlantic trade that preceded African migration to New World. The Spaniards of America with silver assets at their disposal and with the hope of a perfect trade balance with Europe capitalized on the import of African slaves to America. Hence, "the Atlantic slave trade to America until the first decades of the seventeenth century would be primarily a trade to the Spanish colonies in the New World" (Klein 20). The slaves were bartered on African coast and crossed the "Middle Passage" to reach America. On the way, they were tortured to violence and many lives were lost.

Social and Cultural Significance of Slave Trade in America, Women slaves did the same kind of work just like their counterparts. They worked in sugar, coffee and cotton plantations. Klein (2010) noted that "not only did women form half of the planting, weeding, and harvesting gangs on all the plantations of America, they were well represented in all the basic productive sectors of these export industries" (163). However, men outnumbered women in slave trade. The slaves in America created their unique food, literature, music and dance. The emergence of blues and jazz is attributed to African culture in America. They invented new formats of communication. Africa's variegated ethnicity "with their cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity, was represented in the populations involved in the slave trade" (Walker 120). They recreated new religious reflections by blending Euro-America religion with their original and traditional basics. This is evident in their Christian religious practices being different from elite Christian expressions. Their musical scores have different patterns in United States, Argentina, Cuba, Brazil, and Colombia. For example, "carnivals from New Orleans to Buenos Aires are characterized by African rhythmic and masking traditions" (Walker 120).

Slavery that chained humans with the shackles of barbarism, caprice and exploitation persisted as a curse humiliating men's natural rights and liberties. It was an unjust system that tethered humans to a mechanical institution and equally made the masters slaves to the system. But men are born free and slaves being frustrated with the cruelty and inhumanity ultimately revolted. However, its legacy and vestige still remain in the mindset of whites.

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