Slavery and Cotton | Barrow Plantation
Slavery and CottonIn 1820, cotton production had begun to move into the Carolina and Georgia upcountry, as well as central Alabama and the Mississippi River valley. The slave population was still concentrated in the Chesapeake in the low country of South Carolina and Georgia. By 1860, the "Black Belt" had taken shape, marking the expansion of cotton production from the Carolinas all the way to Texas. The internal slave trade also shifted the slave population from the eastern seaboard to new cotton producing regions.
What was the correlation between cotton cultivation and slavery? Did slavery grow only in areas of cotton production? Did slavery grow elsewhere during this period? Choose two states in the map and discuss this relationship.
Using the map, discuss whether slavery was a "dying institution" in 1860, or whether it was expanding in scope.
How did the cotton gin change the economy and geography of slavery?
How did the abolition of the slave trade change the source of slaves for the American South? Which region profited most from this abolition?
Examine the map for 1835. How might the expanding cotton kingdom have contributed to the pressure for Indian removal? Use the map to support your argument.
Barrow PlantationEmancipation altered the individual and community lives of former slaves. On the Barrow Plantation, the dispersal of housing on the post-emancipation plantation reveals the former slaves' desire to escape the direct control and supervision of their former master. Their construction of a church and a school on the Barrow Plantation after emancipation demonstrates their efforts to build new communal institutions to help forge a new life in freedom.
What changed in the location of housing between 1861 and 1881? Compare and contrast the ability of the white overseer to observe and control the slaves and former slaves.
What new facilities existed for ex-slaves that did not exist for slaves? What new freedoms did these buildings represent for the African-American community? What needs did each fulfill?
Make a table that lists the advantages and the disadvantages of the new system for landowners and slaves.
Did slaves typically own the land they occupied and farmed after emancipation? How might the crop lien system have operated on plantations such as this?
Write a description of this plantation complex by a visitor in 1881 who had also visited the plantation in 1861. What differences and similarities would the visitor notice? Write a detailed description of one of the new dwellings of a former slave and compare it to the slave quarters from the first visit.
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