Themes in American History: Capitalism, Slavery, Democracy

Berlin Slave Societies Many Thousands Gone

The history of slavery has been taught in schools as the spinors taking over and capturing all these slaves that were forced to work for them. We often hear about how they were taken from their homelands and put on slave ship brooks from head to toe.  We hear about the beating, the massive killing of black people, we hear about how they weren’t free. But sadly, we were never taught how through their hard times and inhumane lifestyle; they were able to form a life. We weren’t taught how there were not a lot of opportunities for black men to start a family because of the lack of females. I used to believe that if they were stuck in this situation at least they had each other at least they had the opportunity to form a family. I guess that It wasn’t until this point when I realized how truly depressing the situation was. Imagine being taken from your home, treated like an animal, forced to live in a place with people you never seen before or understand, forced to adapt to a new culture, and having to work your entire life if you even had the chance to live a long life to die without anyone. “With their numbers weighted heavily toward men, the first arrivals struggled to form families and reconstruct the institutions that had guided life in their former homeland.”(page 107) Not a lot of them wanted to procreate any way but for those who did and didn’t have the opportunity it was horrible to die alone; especially because of the way that they were living.


A question that arose as I read ‘Berlin Slave Societies Many Thousands Gone’ was how was it possible that the Spaniards believed in God and treated the African slaves the way they did. The author didn’t really go into detail about the believes of the Spaniards, but we know that they justified slavery with the Bible. Now these people who called themselves catholic and believed in God weren’t following the laws he had set. Like for example loving your neighbor as you love yourself. And clearly, we don’t see that love being shown.  “In a world where laboring men and women were commonly driven like beasts, and the words to “work like a slave” took on a profound and chilling meaning for all working people.” (page 106)They were people, some even with a higher intellectual value than other white people. I would have liked for the author to go into more detail about the beliefs of the slave owners.


As I read through the text, I came across a section that said that some of them lost their native language. I wondered why and how they lost the ability to speak creol. “ In some parts of mainland North America, Africans replaced Atlantic creoles, and the charter generations sank swiftly into historical oblivion.”(page 108) I wonder why the few that were able to form a family didn’t speak to their children about the culture or teach them. Well maybe some of them wanted to secure their children’s future and make sure they adapted to this new culture. I just think that teaching the children about their culture would have allowed them to understand their roots and who they truly are. However, I guess I understand the perspective that some of them had of just wanting to keep their children safe.

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