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p. 333. The work of slaverylocked

  • Heather Andrea Williams

Abstract

‘The work of slavery’ describes the wide range of work and duties allocated to enslaved people—men, women, and children—in the North and South. From the 1600s to 1865 the vast majority worked in agriculture producing the cash crops that generated the wealth of the nation. The slave trade created mass consumer markets that traded sugarcane, sugar, rum, molasses, tobacco, indigo, coffee, rice, and cotton. Slavery also existed in urban spaces, where people worked in owner's homes and in commercial enterprises performing domestic duties or skilled work in factories and textile mills. Many enslaved people took great pride in their work—it sustained their egos and their need to have meaningful lives.

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