TeacherServe Essays

How Slavery Affected African American Families

Author: Williams, Heather Andrea (NHC Fellow, 2007–08)

Slavery not only inhibited family formation but made stable, secure family life difficult if not impossible. A father might have one owner, his “wife” and children another. Family separation through sale was a constant threat. Many owners encouraged marriage to protect their investment in their slaves. Abolitionists attacked slavery by pointing to the harm it inflicted upon families.

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Subjects: History; Education Studies; Family; Slavery; Enslaved Persons; African American History