Primary Source Analysis
Address slavery and race relations in colonial America by answering the following questions with evidence from these primary sources (you must reference
all of them in an essay format)
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano
A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture Smith
Reading the American Past: 3-3, Sex and Race Relations; 5-4, Advertisements for Runaway Slaves; 8-1, Founding the First AME Church; and 8-2, Jefferson’s
Views on Race
Please answer all of these questions:
What were the means by which white colonists justified the enslavement and oppression of Africans and African Americans?
How did Black colonists, slave and free, respond to that oppression?
How did Africans and African Americans push back against the idea that whiteness was equated with superiority?
In what ways did Africans and African Americans attempt to assimilate into the dominant white culture? How and why did they reject assimilation?
What evidence do the documents provide for the persistence of African culture in America?
Why did the colonial elite self-consciously promote racial animosity? How did they attempt to erect and enforce a racial divide and prevent solidarity between
poor whites and slaves?
Though there were deliberate efforts made to prevent the establishment of a sense of egalitarianism between Black and white colonists, what evidence do
the documents provide regarding mutual interest, cooperation and even companionship between the two groups?
How did poor whites benefit in finding common ground with slaves? And conversely, in what ways did poor whites use race to their advantage?
In spite of the benefits of cooperation, over time racial divisions in the colonies became more antagonistic. How do the documents demonstrate that?
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