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5 Facts About Black Children During Slavery That You Did Not Know!! 1 & 5 will move you to tears…  

1.Black Children Were Fed Like Pigs

Babies were often taken care of by very young Black children or very old adults who weren’t able to work much. Because there were often many babies to be fed, they were fed out of troughs.

“Children fed like pigs out of troughs and, being supplied sparingly, invariably fight and quarrel with one another over their meals,” Francis Fredric recalled in documents in The National Archives. The food they were given often lacked protein and other things of nutritional value. The children’s bellies were often plump, which is a typical indicator of malnutrition.


2.Even Children’s Games Were Oppressive

When enslaved children had time to play, they obviously were not given traditional toys and had to come up with their own games. A common game mentioned in numerous narratives is Hide the Switch. In this game, one child would hide a switch, a branch cut from a tree commonly used for whippings, and whoever found it would then chase the others in an attempt to whip them.

child sex

3.Children Were Often Forced to Have S_ex

The history of sexual abuse of women by the plantation owners is widely discussed, but what is rarely talked about is the sexual abuse of children in slavery. Because the more enslaved people an owner had, the wealthier he was, children were often forced to have sex in order to procreate.

“Child-bearing started around the age of thirteen, and by twenty the women slaves would be expected to have four or five children,” an article titled “Slave Breeding” reads, via “To encourage child-bearing some population owners promised women slaves their freedom after they had produced fifteen children.”


children slaves

4.Ages in Which Children Were Required to Work Varied

Children were required to begin working in the fields at different ages, depending on the plantation.

Forty-eight percent of interviewees in the Slave Narrative Collection recalled being put to work before the age of 7. Before puberty, the tasks given to children did not appear to be gender specific. Most children were required to take water to the fields, tend to the animals and care for younger children, among other duties, according to The National Archives.

high death rate

5.High Death Rates

Children who were born into slavery were exposed to many traumas, including poor diet, harsh living conditions and lack of medical care. This led to a high infant/child mortality rate due to natural causes at almost twice that of their white counterparts.

PNP249300 A cook feeding slave children on a Southern plantation, c.1860 (engraving); by American School, (19th century); Private Collection; Peter Newark American Pictures; American, out of copyright


Written by How Africa

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