As we all know, February is the official month for Black History, so this month on Put A Wedge In It Blogs each Tuesday we will be exploring “Black Relationships in History.” We realize that it’s a hard thing to look on black history (especially if you are a black person) because inevitably, we pretty much know where it ended up. However, please know that we are a very resilient people, prosperous, intelligent and goal oriented, so even though our forefathers suffered horrific outcomes, WE are here to show that their sufferings were not in vain!
Today we are looking at “Slave Marriages”
Most slave owners agreed and encouraged their slaves to marry. They reasoned that the men would be less likely to rebel or to run away if they were married. Some slave masters figured it was quite religious and correct that they allow these marriages with the benefit of building their plantation.
Slave girls started bearing children at about the age of 13 and by the age of 20 the women slaves would be EXPECTED to have four or five children as an input to the masters’ plantation and to furthermore ENCOURAGE these very young women to bear children, they promised the female slaves their freedom after baring (or should we say producing) their 14th child.
This was the beginning of black men NOT wanting to marry. Not because they despised their women (in the same way it may seem today) they didn’t want to be part of GROWING SLAVES like crop for their masters, so lots of black men during that time rebelled against marrying. Not to mention the fear of being separated from the family during slave auctions.
Slave weddings were typically conducted by the slave owners and were carried out with very little pomp or real celebration. The couples were merely asked to hold hands while Bible verses were read before them and then they were deemed married. There were NO honeymoon periods and both husband and wife were expected to resume their duties as normal the VERY following day. Marriage between slaves was not legally nor even recognized. Thus, even when they did try to establish formal family units, neither their owners nor the laws of the land recognized them or even took them seriously.
If slaves from different plantations fell in love and if the slave master allowed them to join in marriage conjugal visits were arranged by their owners BUT there was no guarantee that either the husband or wife would not be sold by the slave masters that separately owned them.
From the beginning of time it was a staple that “Black Marriages” were not to be taken seriously and even after slavery was abolished in 1865 black marriages still suffered greatly. The idea of black marriages was that of a joke, more of a business deal; rather than a legitimate union between 2 people in love with one another.
These are embedded teachings that have greatly effected what the black family should look like, be like and feel like from the beginning of time.
This is the first edition for the month for Black Relationships in History, please join us all month for tidbits on this topic and we encourage you to reply, comment and get involved! Join our networking literary site as well during the month of February for poetry, books and short stories pertaining to black history month over on ~Nita Bee’s~ Buzzin’ WebBlog 🙂
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Have a great Tuesday on purpose,
~ Katrina Gurl