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5 Crops Planted and Harvested By Slaves

Updated on August 3, 2016
Slaves Planting Crops
Slaves Planting Crops

There is no doubt that slavery is the most horrific thing that could happen to any race. Imagine living in your own land, enjoying your freedom of living, eating off your land, and suddenly some people come across on boats, equipped with guns, ropes and nets. Then they make deals with other black people who intern sells his own brother for rum and guns. Then the sold Africans are transported to another land in a ship called Jesus where they are stacked like sardines, passed waste on each other, become infected with many diseases because of being tied and stacked on each other. Slaves vomiting on each other and skin lesions breaking out and becoming infected. The horror and the wickedness of slavery started long before the beating and inhumane treatments on farms. Many of our forefathers never made it across as many slaves could not survive such horrific ordeals and many died because of hunger, disease, mental breakdown and even broken heart. The dead slaves were later thrown over board and thus the sharks had a feast on black meat. The slaves that made it to the new lands of America and Europe were broken, hungry, weak and scared as the barbarians marched them in chains parading their newly acquired stock. They were purchased by many wicked people who saw it fit to acquire another human being to work on their farms. They planted many crops and made millionaires out of many of the slave owners. The main crops planted by these slaves are:

Slaves Picking Cotton
Slaves Picking Cotton


The cotton fields were no stranger to these Great Africans. The cotton industry was very lucrative for the white plantation owners and simply could not do without this free inhumane slave labor. The cotton fields were predominantly harvested by women. Working long hours in the sun accompanied by many abuse. Many of the women slaves practiced self-abortion. They found medicine or herbs to terminate pregnancies. One of te way to do this was by chewing on cotton.It was one of the popular methods to end a pregnancy without anyone finding out. And since most women worked in the cotton fields because of less intense labor, It was easily accessible. These black women did this to avoid their child being taken away and branded as property for the master of the plantation. By resisting reproduction, enslaved women took control over their bodies and their lives. And had a piece of mind knowing that they have not put another slave on the face of the earth.

2. Hemp

They say there is a reason or better yet, a History behind everything. How many of you actually knew that slaves planted hemp. Hemp was referred to as "nigger crop" by the so called Kentuckians in those days simply because they believed that no one understood its eccentricities as well or was as expert in handling it as the Negro. so weed was planted by slaves, slaves who began to use the substance themselves. Many got so hooked on hemp that they became addicts and soon was of no use to the plantation owner. These slaves were either sold at dirt cheap prices or put to work elsewhere other than the hemp fields. Hemp was the major crop harvested by slaves in Kentucky. Hemp factories were filled with negro slaves. Hemp as a crop however did not require much detailed attention as cotton farms and therefore less slaves could be found on hemp farms. When slaves bred on hemp farms, they were quickly sold off for profit by the plantation owners.

3. Sugar cane

The rise of the sugar cane industry is solely due to slave labor. One of the most profitable crops planted and harvested by slaves. white plantation owners referred to sugar cane as white gold because of the tonnes of cash they made from harvesting this crop under slave labor. Sugar Cane grew better in the tropical climates and as such, the more profitable sugar cane plantation owners were from the West indies. Sugar cane harvesting was not as easy as hemp or cotton harvesting, harvesting this crop by hand with continuous machete chopping and the bundling and lifting of sugar canes were extremely treacherous. The slaves worked relentlessly in the sun all year to make these wicked plantation owners rich.

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4. Rice

Not all rice were planted by Asians. Blacks made rice great in South Carolina. Rice was one of the more significant crops being planted and harvested in that area. English colonists who settled the rich North American land, did not possess the knowledge or expertise that was required for the production of rice. Thus, the plantation owners sought advice as to the best way in cultivating this crop. They turned to slave knowledge.The huge task of cultivating, processing, and packaging rice on South Carolina Plantations was commonly assigned to slaves.This did not matter the white plantation owner as all he did was sit inhumane targets fro the slaves to complete and he would just simply sit by and cash in. Planting rice was no walk in the park for slaves either, as this entailed working under horrific circumstances. Swamp fields had to be fully cleared before any rice could be planted. The clearing of these swamp fields were done by Male slaves. This was dangerous as many slaves were bitten by poisonous snakes and some simply became ill with fever and died. When the swamp fields were cleared, then the slave women would sow the rice. Rice seedlings were poured into water-soaked soil and submersed in the muddy by the slave women using their bare feet.

5. Tobacco

During the time of the Colonial period in America, It was tobacco that became the dominant crop harvested by slaves. Two states used the largest amounts of slaves for tobacco cultivation, Maryland and Virginia. Virginia's economy had little gold and therefore gold was never going to be the product to put Virginia on the map. They looked for new ways to make money and soon the product called tobacco was on the lips of every plantation owner. The owners knew that planting such large volumes of tobacco for internal and export use needed vast amount of labor. cheap labor, slave labor. Tobacco was very profitable for the colonial governments. It provided the colonial governments of Virginia and Maryland with one of their principal sources of revenue. A duty of two shillings, or about 20 cents, levied on each hogshead of tobacco exported from those colonies yielded Virginia 3,000 pounds, or $4,541 in 1680, and 6,000, or $9,082, a year during 1758-1762. In Maryland the proceeds were steady at 2,500 pounds, or $3,784, a year from 1700. It was a wonderful crop planted by slaves who of course never saw a red cent from profits.


Many rich states today owe their wealth to the fact that they had slave labor. Many inheritance that some of these wealthy families have gained is due to the fact that many of their forefathers were massive slave owners and bartered slaves as a commodity. They had massive plantations where they used the Africans to do forced labor under very inhumane circumstances. Slaves have helped to shape the pockets and history of American and Europe in many ways. Some of those ways completely hidden or erased from history books.


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    • clivewilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Williams 

      4 years ago from Jamaica

      yes frank....not many can handle the truth

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      a very enduring hub my friend..

    • clivewilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Williams 

      4 years ago from Jamaica

      thanks for your thoughts alwaysexploring

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Every time I read about slavery it makes me feel sad. I know it happened, but I will never understand how the landowners could think it was ok. I am ashamed of our history on slavery. I want to think that not all landowners did this. My grandmother, my father's mother was one half Indian and they were treated badly too. I hear people say that time has passed, but it can never be forgotten and shouldn't be. Peace my friend....


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