By Ann Patton Malone
Sweet Chariot is a pathbreaking research of slave households and family composition within the nineteenth-century South. Ann Malone offers a delicately drawn photograph of the ways that slaves have been constituted into households and families inside a group and exhibits how and why that association replaced over the years. Her publication, according to large examine, is either a statistical examine through the years of a hundred and fifty five slave groups in twenty-six Louisiana parishes and a descriptive learn of 3 plantations: Oakland, Petite Anse, and Tiger Island.
Malone first offers a local research of relatives, loved ones, and group association. Then, drawing on qualitative assets, she discusses styles in slave kin family association, deciding on the main major ones in addition to those who consistantly acted as signs of swap. Malone exhibits that slave neighborhood association strongly mirrored the place every one neighborhood used to be in its personal developmental cycle, which in flip was once inspired via myriad elements, starting from impersonal fiscal stipulations to the arbitrary judgements of person proprietors. She additionally initiatives a statistical version that may be used for comparisons with different populations.
The power subject matters that Malone uncovers are the mutability and but the fidelity of Louisiana slave family association. She exhibits that the slave relatives and its extensions, the slave family and neighborhood, have been way more assorted and adaptable than formerly believed. the true energy of the slave comunity used to be its multiplicity of varieties, its tolerance for numerous household devices and its adaptability. She reveals, for instance, that the popular relatives shape consisted of 2 mom and dad and kids yet that each one varieties of households and families have been permitted as functioning and contributing contributors of the slave community.
"Louisiana slaves had a well-defined and collective imaginative and prescient of the constitution that will serve them most sensible and an iron selection to achieve it, " Malone observes. "But in addition to this fidelity in imaginative and prescient and perseverance used to be flexibility. Slave family varieties in Louisiana bent like willows within the wind to maintain from shattering. The suppleness in their varieties avoided family chaos and enabled such a lot slave groups to get over even critical crises."
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Extra resources for Sweet Chariot: Slave Family and Household Structure in Nineteenth-Century Louisiana (Fred W Morrison Series in Southern Studies)
The estates and slave community constructions of the newer migrants Page 25 are more accurately reflected in the following decade. Likewise, the most serious effects of the Panic of 1819 on slave family construction are reflected in the 1820s. Louisiana Slave Household Composition, 1820-1829 The United States began the new decade in the throes of a major depression. Louisiana's population increased by 41 percent during the 1820s, but the rate of growth was less than it had been during the previous decade and smaller than it would be in the 1830s, the expansion slowed by the effects of the panic and depression.
The only form encountered frequently was that of downward disposition; it involved 5 percent of the sampled slaves and was quite common in the later stages of community development because it involved three generations. Most commonly, it consisted of a nuclear family unit plus an unmarried daughter and grandchild, the latter two forming the second "family" or conjugal unit. What does this composite profile mean for the experience of an "average" slave? First, it suggests that in nineteenth-century rural Louisiana a slave had less than a fifty-fifty chance of being part of a family consisting of children and both parents.
Non-nuclear, extended, and multiple family households embraced smaller percentages of slaves than the simple family and solitaire household types. The non-nuclear category was by far the least significant household type, containing only about 1 percent of the slaves sampled. Most of the small number of non-nuclear family households were made up of co-resident siblings. Extended family households encompassed only 2 percent of the slaves, with small percentages in each of the forms of extension. Slaves in the multiple family classification totaled about 6 percent of the sample.