Were All White Overseers Cruel to Slaves?

Tom Hughes

First Sergeant
May 27, 2019
Tom, consult the enslaved people, not just the enslaver.
Unfortunately, all the enslaved have been dead for 100 years. The only evidence we have at this point is the written documentation of eyewitnesses that lived it. By documentation, I'm mean people who observed (not just slave owners). Just saying...

John Hartwell

Forum Host
Aug 27, 2011
Central Massachusetts
Whipping, corporal punishment, was a normal method of instilling obedience and discipline in the schoolroom. It was not, in itself, considered to be "cruelty." Why should we expect it to be any different in the slave quarters.

I suspect whipping of someone was a "normal," daily occurrence (not to say that anyone was whipped every day). Doubtless it was sometimes done cruelly, and to excess. How often is a legitimate question. But, whatever the answer to that may be, the enslaved had no defense, no protection, no recourse except in flight -- which always incited extreme brutality.