Let’s get a few things straight about slavery before we begin. Not everyone supported slavery even in ancient times. There were great slave revolts in the ancient world even though slavery was the dominant institution for thousands of years. I say this because ignorant people and trickster conservatives try to throw up false arguments that everyone believed in slavery at one time in order to justify their southern heritage they are always bragging about. Slavery in ancient times cannot be equated to slavery in this country—one big difference, slavery in this country was based on skin color while ancient slavery was not. Ancient slavery was based primarily on being a prisoner of war. This is totally different from slavery based on skin color. So, don’t let the confederate fake news boys fool you with that one.
Let’s talk about what the brutality consisted of in this country and in the Caribbean. On slave ships, blacks were packed like fish in the hold of a slave. They urinated next to each other and defecated on each other as they could not move. Their skin became infected and when they got too sick to make it to a slave port to be sold they were thrown overboard with rock weights tied to the feet. They were given four to five feet to stretch out but could not do so, nor could they rise up as the ceiling was three feet in height at most. Some slave owners chopped up the corpses of dead slaves and fed them to the others for food. Often a purchaser spit in the face of a slave that was just bought to establish a reign of terror and disrespect. Women were often branded on both breasts with a hot iron.
Once assigned to a plantation a slave could be worked to death or whipped to death. Sometimes a slave would be whipped flat on the ground tied to four posts. Women who were pregnant were whipped until the baby fell out. A hole was dug so that the baby would fall into the hole. If it was decided that an example needed to be made for her disobedience, her baby would be hacked to death with axes in front of her eyes. There were even more insane methods to set examples. In between whipping sometimes a piece of burning wood would be placed between their buttocks, or hot ashes thrown on them. Some slaves were stuffed with gun powder in the rectum and a fuse was lit, blowing them to pieces as other slaves were forced to watch. If a master had too many slaves and was unable to find a buyer they would be hanged, burned alive, or buried up to the neck in a hole and their faces smeared with honey so that flies and ants would eat them alive.
All of this was done to intimidate the slaves in order to prevent rebellion. It is no wonder that when slaves revolted on plantations in Haiti they showed no mercy to captured white slave owners. Slaves showed little pity during the German Coast Revolt in Louisiana, or in the Nat Turner rebellion. Black soldiers fighting for Union forces would sometimes blow plantation owners homes to pieces with their family inside. Justice often came at a terrible price. We know that black families were separated on the auction block and forced to work from sun up to sun down, but the exact details of this “southern heritage,” and slave owner heritage, is hidden behind rebel flags and monuments to the brutal leaders of the Confederacy.