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Slavery in the United States, c.1500-1865

6. Family

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about slaves’ family life, focusing in particular on: (i) the kind of family life that was available to enslaved people; (ii) the concept of ‘abroad marriages’ – marriages between slaves from different plantations; and (iii) the concept of ‘fictive kinship’ – the idea that individuals who were not biologically related could nevertheless form a strong and supportive ‘family’.


In this course, Professor Tim Lockley (University of Warwick) explores the history of slavery in the United States. We begin in the first module with an exploration of the earliest history of slavery in Africa and the development of the transatlantic slave trade. After that, we turn to the domestic slave trade – i.e. the buying and selling of slaves within the United States – before turning in the third module to the question of the kind of work that enslaved individuals did. In the fourth module, we think about the kind of relationship that enslaved people had with their owners, while in the fifth we think about what enslaved people did in their free time. In the sixth module, we think about enslaved people’s family life, in the seventh their health, and in the eighth their religious life – focusing in particular on why so many enslaved people converted to Christianity. In the ninth module, we think about slave culture – how enslaved people spoke, what they ate, the kinds of stories they told and songs they sang – before turning in the tenth module to consider the ways in which enslaved people resisted slavery. In the eleventh module, we think about why there were so few slave rebellions in the United States, while in the twelfth and final module, we think about how attitudes towards race factored into the workings of slavery in the United States.


Tim Lockley is Professor of American History at the University of Warwick. where his teaching and research interests include colonial and antebellum North America, with a particular focus on slavery and the South. He has written and edited a number of books, including 2009’s Welfare and Charity and the Antebellum South. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Lockley, T. (2019, October 17). Slavery in the United States, c.1500-1865 - Family [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Lockley, T. "Slavery in the United States, c.1500-1865 – Family." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 17 Oct 2019,