The Slave Resistance forms a significant part of African American History. Three methods found popular use among the slaves: launching rebellions against the slaveholders, escaping, or doing everyday acts of resistance, like reducing their rate of working.
There were several rebellion movements launched in that time, a few of which found success. But still, these small triumphs never showed the whole picture; whites still outnumbered slaves considerably. Then there was the prospect of running away. Some slaves also found permanent escape from slavery. The North was a hope for many escaped slaves, where slavery had already been abolished. Most of the time the slaves were on their own, especially in the South.
Many of the slaves had to take evasive measures during their escapes, having to do things like taking to rivers to evade pursuing hunting dogs or disguising their scent with odorous materials for the same reason. Some of them even had to steal horses or hide themselves below decks on ships. History does not give distinct and sure accounts and records as to the number of slaves who truly were successful in their escaping ventures. Estimates put a number close to a hundred thousand to the slaves who actually obtained freedom by escaping their ordeals.
Lastly, a way of rebelling involved introducing simple acts of rebellion into everyday life. This could entail sabotage and feigning illness for relief from pathetic working conditions. Another was feigning low mental aptitude and not understanding owners’ orders properly. Many slaves would also slow down their rate of work on purpose. Women slaves often worked in households and used their position to subvert their masters by poisoning them, for example. There are also accounts of women using abortion or birth control to prevent owners from having more slaves. Also, sticking to their beliefs and cultures also helped slaves to show resistance to their owners.
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