Even in the worst of conditions and in the worst of times in the Arkansas delta, African American slaves developed “cultures of resistance” to try to assert some control over their surroundings and the conditions that they faced. Slaves collaborated in slowdowns at work, took breaks when overseers were not looking, practiced “truancy” (that is, took brief runaway excursions), and usurped the authority of white mistresses in running households. Some took more drastic measures, such as running away to freedom across large distances or, more directly, by killing their masters. The price of defiance could be high, but it was also liberating. You can find out more about slavery in Arkansas in a new edited collection of essays published in December by the University of Arkansas Press called Race and Ethnicity in Arkansas: New Perspectives.
Slavery in Arkansas
By John Kirk • Nov 21, 2014