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mattbrowne's avatar

Which was the worst state in the US during the time of slavery and segregation?

Asked by mattbrowne (31719points) June 19th, 2009

From Wikipedia: Slavery in the United States had its origins with the first English colonization of North America in Virginia in 1607 and lasted as a legal institution until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1865. From 1654 until 1865, slavery for life was legal within the boundaries of much of the present United States. Most slaves were black and were held by whites, although some Native Americans and free blacks also held slaves; there were a small number of white slaves as well. The majority of slaveholding was in the southern United States where most slaves were engaged in an efficient machine-like gang system of agriculture, with farms of fifteen or more slaves featuring a higher factor of productivity compared to those farms without slaves.

Racial segregation in the United States, as a general term, included the racial segregation of facilities, services, and opportunities such as housing, medical care, education, employment, and transportation along racial lines. The expression refers primarily to the legally or socially enforced separation of African Americans from other races, but can more loosely refer to voluntary separation, and also to separation of other racial or ethnic minorities from the majority mainstream society and communities.

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8 Answers

casheroo's avatar

My guesses: Virginia, Georgia, or Mississippi.

marinelife's avatar

What do you define as worst? Most slaves? Worst treatment of slaves? I think more detail is needed.

The worst case I ever heard I learned of recently through NPR. Blind Tom Wiggins.

It is hard to overestimate the evils of slavery.

cwilbur's avatar

And, also importantly, worst for whom?

I suspect it was quite pleasant to be a wealthy plantation owner in Georgia.

aprilsimnel's avatar

From what I understand, it probably would be either southern Alabama or Mississippi. When slaves were angered their masters, the threat was to split up the slave’s family and sell them all down the river in the “Deep South”.

avalmez's avatar

matt – i have to agree with others above that the question is rather open and ambiguous. “Worst” could be taken in many ways from in terms of conditions to which slaves were subjected, to highest population of slaves, to highest number of salves per capita. actually, i think you intended to pose more of a rhetorical question than a scientific one.

also, with respect to your aside on segregation, blacks were not the only peoples subjected to formal or legal segregation. throughout the southwest mexican-americans were subjected to segregation as well as exclusion.

in texas, many commercial establishments excluded blacks altogether while mexican-americans were segregated. bars and saloons for example would prohibit blacks while segregating mexican-americans to “their” side of the bar or saloon. my father recalled shortly after wwii he and some buddies in military uniform taking a seat at a watering hole called The Horseshoe Lounge only to be rudely informed by the proprietor that they were on the wrong half of the bar (which was in fact shaped like a horseshoe).

today, many towns remain segregated, but by choice. many cemeteries continue to have sections where european names predominate, and others where hispanic names predominate. this continues because families tend to want to be laid to rest near other family members.

anyways, sorry for the rambling nature of my response – tighten up the q and perhaps i can similarly tighten up my response (it’s a somewhat interesting topic in any case)

avalmez's avatar

and, yes, hispanic names are largely european in origin but it gets difficult sometimes to distinguish between the two.

the same difficulty applies to the designation of race/ethnic origin, which is a frequently requested item on forms.

for example, when i was a kid growing up in Texas the state recognized three “races”, white, mexican and black.

today, each is designated as “white, not hispanic” (because mexican-americans are technically Caucasian = white here), “hispanic, not black” (as opposed to a black Cuban and because a Caucasian Guatemalan, e.g., would object to responding “mexican”), and “black”, respectively. and the number of choices has increased from the original three.

thought those of you outside the US might find this ludicrous situation interesting if not amusing

mattbrowne's avatar

@Marina – Yes, worst treatment of slaves and most strict laws and enforcement of segregation. The link doesn’t seem to work right now.

@avalmez – No, it’s not a rhetorical question. Sorry about the misunderstanding. Maybe I should have asked: In which states did African Americans and other minorities suffer most?

marinelife's avatar

@mattbrowne Oops sorry for the bad link. Check this man out. He was a natural musical genius (although he also studied with great teachers). He was used to support a family o slaveowners who exploited him (upheld through the courts) and took all the money he made his whole life. Among other egregious sins, they never told him about emancipation and kept him for many years after the slaves were freed.

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