Only one adequate plan has ever appeared in the world, and that is the Christian dispensation.
John Jay - First US Supreme Court Chief Justice
Wednesday's Word: African American History - Resistance and Escape

Wednesday's Word

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Saturday, March 08, 2014

African American History - Resistance and Escape



Throughout the history of American slavery, Africans and African Americans resisted or escaped whenever possible. The most common form of resistance was known as “day-to-day” resistance, or small acts of rebellion which included sabotage, such as breaking tools or setting fire to buildings. Slaves could also fake being ill to gain relief from their harsh working conditions. All forms of resistance carried the very real probability of severe punishment if found out.

Women may have resisted against their special burden under slavery—having to provide slaveholders with more slaves by bearing children. Birth control, abortion and infanticide were methods used by slave women to keep their children out of slavery.

As far as escape, although there were many other (mostly individual) efforts; the most famous was the "Underground Railroad" which got its name because its activities had to be carried out in secret, using darkness or disguise, and because railway terms were used by those involved with system to describe how it worked. Various routes were lines, stopping places were called stations, those who aided along the way were conductors (Harriet Tubman) and their charges were known as packages or freight. The network of routes extended through 14 Northern states and “the promised land” of Canada–beyond the reach of fugitive-slave hunters.

Historians are unsure of how many slaves permanently escaped throughout the existence of slavery in the American colonies, and later, the United States. An estimated 100,000 escaped to freedom over the course of the 19th century, according to James A. Banks in March Toward Freedom: A History of Black Americans (1970).

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