The Slave Community
The Slave Community
John W. Blassingame, the author of the book The Slave Community: The Plantation Life in the Antebellum South, tries to put across the point that the Slave Community had attacked the idea of Stanley Elkin. Elkin was of the idea that Southern slavery had gotten so severe to the point of destroying slave culture that existed before. In essence, southern slavery had interfered with slave culture and the only ones that had remained were child-like slaves that doted and depended on their masters a lot. Blassingame’s idea was that the slave community did not agree with Stanley Elkin’s notion of southern slavery.
John W. Blassingame’s book The Slave Community: The Plantation Life in the Antebellum South assesses how black people become enslaved in pre-civil war. Blassingame examines the slave family and the black culture at the time. He delves into courtship practices, sexual attitudes, childbearing, wedding ceremonies, language, family roles, and discipline. The story in the Slave Community is told from the perspective of an enslaved individual.
The book contradicts the interpretations of the historians that suggested that African-American slaves were submissive and docile sambos that liked to benefit from paternalistic relationships they shared with their masters on the southern plantations. Blassingame uses psychology to assess the narrative of the fugitive slaves that had been published in the 19th century. The author comes to the conclusion that an independent culture had developed among the slaves and that the slaves exhibited numerous personality types. Blassingame asserts that through concentrating on enslaver, historians gave a distorted view of plantation life which stripped slaves of distinctive and meaningful culture, religion, or manhood.
The plantation represented a battlefield where slaves came to fight for their psychological and physical survival. Blassingame’s book brings a new perspective to the institution; a perspective of the slaves themselves. Blassingame challenges the timeworn stereotype of the slave being a docile and passive creature that lack purpose, drive, and responsibility. Blassingame traces the emergence of slave personality traits and analyzes resistance patterns in the slave community. Additionally, Blassingame concludes by proving that slaves had a rich family and cultural life, which they deliberately kept hidden from their white masters. Unlike other books that address slavery from the outside, The Slave Community delves into the inside of slave quarters and attempts to capture the religion, music, family life, and folklore of slaves.
Blassingame bases his argument on various sources, including the memoirs of formerly enslaved people that he uses to examine how black people were enslaved, their deep ties with African heritage, and the process of acculturation in the south. Blassingame shows the way slaves controlled some aspects of their life while wearing a mask of submissiveness which was the harsh reality of life in the plantations. Furthermore, Blassingame draws upon sociological and psychological insights to interpret the relationships between masters and slaves. The author incorporates a traveler’s impression and a planter’s viewpoint to bring a dimensional portrait of plantation life, which effectively separates mythology from historical reality.
Without a doubt, John Blassingame, the author of the book titled The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South, is successful in attaining its objective of showcasing the culture of the slaves that were not known to masters. In the book, Blassingame explores a period of twenty years when the population of people in New Orleans more than doubled. Essentially, Blassingame was successful in showing that historians did not fully exploit the experiences of American slaves. Blassingame asserted that historians gave a distorted view of plantation life by concentrating more on the save owner.