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African American life in the 1800's

WOW. A little piece of history. It is really hard to believe this is what used to be. So sad!

Even before blacks were officially recognized as federal soldiers, many slaves like Nick Biddle escaped and joined Union lines. In 1861, he wore a uniform, traveled with his employee’s company to Baltimore to help protect Washington, D.C., after the surrender of Fort Sumter. Once there, he was set upon by a pro-Confederate mob, attacked with slurs and a brick that hit him in the head so severely it exposed his skull. Some consider him the first man wounded in the Civil War.

A very rare picture of a beautiful young girl on the chair, who is being looked after by a nursemaid who only appears to be about 10years old herself. This picture compells you to wonder about both their lives. How they lived, and what they did together.

A Young Girl and her Nursemaid

Slavery in the United States - Children who were born to slaves began working as soon as they were able.

Many Native Americans welcomed African Americans into their villages. Even as slaves many African Americans became part of a family group, and many intermarried with Native Americans - thus many later became classified as Black Indians

A controversial homemade doll known as a“topsy-turvy doll,” The topsy-turvies existed because the slave masters actually didn’t want the slave children to have dolls that looked like themselves, which would give them a sense of empowerment. “When the slave master was gone, the kids would have the black side, but when the slave master was around, they would have the white side."

  • Gwendolyn Harlan

    Born and raised in south. Never heard that. Not sure that is true. Had one of these myself Just liked it

  • Estelle Barada

    How did you come to have such a rare doll? Do you still have her?

  • Lisa Ann Deeter

    I have also heard them called Plantation dolls. I saw one in a museum, wish I could remember where exactly, perhaps The Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond. My family did Living History with a Confederate Maryland group and I had made a reproduction one of these for our youngest daughter. There was a diary account of a girl who had one that comforted her when her nanny was not around. I have to wonder if the nanny gave it to her? The real ones are quite a treasure to have for sure!

  • Estelle Barada

    Thank you Lisa Ann for that account. I would love to have one of these dolls. What an interesting article to have as a Civil War reenactor.

His name is Renty, he was born in the Congo, and enslaved on the plantation of B.F. Taylor, in Columbia, South Carolina

SLAVE WHIPPING AS A BUSINESS. People who lived in Richmond would send their slaves here for punishment. When any one wanted a slave whipped he would send a note to that effect with the servant to the trader. Any petty offense on the part of a slave was sufficient to subject the offender to this brutal treatment. For this service the owner was charged a certain sum for each slave, and the earnings of the traders from this source formed a very large part of the profits of his business.