On the arrival of enslaved Africans in the America, they were sold to the masters to help on plantations. The master then used Africans as a slave to perform a variety of work which includes clearing of bushes, digging canals and shaping of fields ready for plantation. The work seemed to be endless where slaves could work for around 18 hours a day, and sometimes for a duration longer than that at busy periods like harvesting. Marriage between the slaves was not allowed, and families could be separated through the sale. Also, there were many cases of sexual abuse of the slave women by the whites on the plantations. Education of slaves was also not legal as this could make them to now their rights (Dunn, 2014).
Being a free black person would mean that you are a manumission, released by masters or you were born a free black, which was very rare. Some African-Americans purchased their freedom from masters while some became free by winning lawsuits. A free black could be allowed to live in all parts of the United States, own property, and possess other rights like the right to vote and participate in public functions (Du Bois, 2013).
During colonial time, abolitionist movements were formed, both formal and informal to end the institution of slavery. These movements were sphere headed by leaders such as Fredrick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison to ensure a slave-free society in the United States. Other issues targeted by the abolitionist movement which started during the 1830s was to end racial segregation and discrimination which was being pronounced largely in the US during colonial periods. The abolitionists were mainly minority of Americans who were not pleased by the slavery and the denial of rights subjected to African Americans by slave masters (Harrold, 2015).
Du Bois, W. E. B. (2013). Black Reconstruction in America: Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880. Transaction Publishers.
Dunn, R. S. (2014). A tale of two plantations: Slave life and labor in Jamaica and Virginia. Harvard University Press.
Harrold, S. (2015). The Rise of Aggressive Abolitionism: Addresses to the Slaves. University Press of Kentucky.