Miguel Barnet Biography Of A Runaway Slave Summary

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Cuba:
An Overview of Slavery In light of all the atrocities enacted upon mankind, none were as demeaning and repugnant as slavery. On the island of Cuba, slavery flourished for over 300 years with more than one million slaves being trafficked from Africa and China. Many of these slaves were brought over to work on large plantations that harvested tobacco, coffee and sugar cane. Life on the plantations was not only exhausting, but a slave’s life was often cut short due to the rigorous demands of crop and factory production. Slavery was finally abolished on the island in 1886, but had already left its indelible mark on Cuban society. This essay will cover the different facets regarding slavery in Cuban society and its effects on modern day Cuba.
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There living conditions provided little in the way of comfort and convenience. In the article, “Biography of a Runaway Slave” written by Miguel Barnet, the narrator describes the barracoons (name for a Cuban slave’s dwelling) as small and dirty, made with wood and cement and painted white in the exterior to give the appearance of cleanliness. Cuban slaves lived communally, performing the majority of their activity outside of work in the area in and around these barracoons. Women would wash clothes in the central part of the barracoons. The elderly who were no longer able to work in the fields would tend to their canucos (small gardens) in order to pass the time away. Sunday’s were a day of rest on the plantation, but slaves would often enjoy a fiesta with a lot of music and games. In addition, many of the adult slaves would go to the tavern for a drink of rum and to trade for merchandise: rice, beef jerky, lard and all kinds of beans. Small piglets were also raised amongst the slaves, and “taters” were a favorite food because of their nutritional value and the strength that they supplied the slaves in their daily work on the plantation. Finally, African religion was an important component that permeated many areas of slave life such as games, relationships and even…show more content…
In the article “Fleeing Slavery,” Pedro Deschamps Chapeux describes the nature and frequency of the cimarrón (runaway slave) escaping slave life:
Running away was a constant objective in the life of a man held in servile status. From the beginning of the slave regime in Cuba, and starting with the forced arrival on the island of the first enslaved Africans, the Spanish colonizers recorded in their chronicles
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