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Field slaves in the United States

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Title: Field slaves in the United States  
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Subject: Slavery, Slavery in the United States, History of slavery, Human trafficking, Abolition of slavery timeline
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Field slaves in the United States

Field slaves were slaves who labored in the plantation fields. They commonly were used to plant, tend, and harvest cotton, sugar, rice, and tobacco.


Field slaves usually worked in the fields from sunrise to sundown, while being monitored by an overseer. The overseer was there to make sure that slaves did not slow down or cease their field work until the day was over.


Field slaves were given one outfit annually. During the winter time, field slaves were given additional clothing, or material to make additional clothing, in order to keep them warm.[1]


In general, slave children received little to no clothing until they reached the age of puberty,[2] after which time they were given gender-appropriate clothing.


Women were given long dresses to wear in the summer. During the winter they made themselves a shawl and pantalettes.[3] Women often wore turbans on the heads, covering their hair.


Men were given pants to wear during the summer, while in the winter they were also given long coats to wear.[3]



Field slaves were given weekly rations of food by their master, which included some meat, corn meal and flour. If permitted, the slaves could have a garden to grow themselves fresh vegetables.[1] Otherwise they would make a meal from their rations and anything else they could find.[1] They had breakfast at daybreak, before going to work in the fields and had dinner at the end of the workday. This happened every day when they were on the fields or when they were under the rule of their masters.


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