Seeing that so often, during the discussion of topics
such as the 'racial history' of the United States, much
mention is made of the `historically-inaccurate concept'
of the "light-complexioned`house' slave" and of the
"dark-complexioned `field' slave" -- it should also be
noted that this FALSE CONCEPT that far too many
people mistakenly have -- that the who were of a
lighter-complexioned and that were being held within
the captivity of the chattel-slavery 'system' EITHER:
A) "had it easier" or "thought they were better"
than the darker-complexioned slaves AND/OR
B) largely "relaxed in the big house" while the
darker-complexioned enslaved people were
the sole ones to have "suffered in the fields"
.... IS (in much the same vein as that of the
infamous and discredited `Willie Lynch Letter
/ Speech' Hoax) VERY MUCH AN URBAN MYTH
(and, is one which, in nearly every way
that is at all possible, completely defies
the true historical recorded account).
The historical record shows that the large number of
enslaved people who were of a lighter-complexion
(i.e. multiracial-lineage) and that were found on the
continental United States during the antebellum
(chattel-slavery) era of the nation were generally
treated MUCH WORSE than were those enslaved
individuals who were of a darker-complexion.
In fact, the record reveals that most of the White people
who were in power (especially the White women) tended
to look upon the lighter-complexioned enslaved people as
being mere `mongrels of miscegenation' (resulting largely
from the rapes committed by the plantation `Overseers');
in their disgust at the sight of these slaves insisted
that they be "banished to the fields"; and also then
purposefully reserved most of the positions found in
the `big house' (ex. mammy, cook, driver, etc.) for the
enslaved people who were of a darker complexion
who most of the White people had perceived as
being "more loyal, more docile, less competitive, etc.",
and, even more importantly, they also had a skin tone
which could never cause them to be seen as being
any part-'white' (and even worse, perceived as
"possibly" also being "a member of the family"
as it were of a given plantation`Owner').
Photo of enslaved Black person who served in role
of a 'big house' plantation mammy (circa 1848)
Photo of one of the enslaved Mulatto / Multiracial people who worked in the fields of the John Henry Plantation
And this maltreatment was generally even much
more so the case if the lighter-complexioned
enslaved person was even remotely 'suspected'
(by, say, a wife, sister or daughter who ran "the big
house", while a `male' family member ran "the plantation")
of possibly being the offspring of a given plantation
`Owner' (or his son, or father, or brother, or any other
male found in the plantation `Owners' White family).
Photo of one of the enslaved Mulatto / Multiracial people who worked in the fields of a Plantation
In addition, the few lighter-complexioned enslavedpeople that were actually permitted to do any work
in the "big house" were (as a punishment for having
the lowly status of "mongrel" and in order to make sure
that they did not become "too uppity") kept under a
much more severe work supervision (by both the
White women who ran the plantation household and
also by the darker-complexioned enslaved people
who had been placed over the lighter-complexioned
enslaved people and given various "rewards" in an
exchange for the promise to `keep an eye on' them)
than were most of the (more trusted and seemingly
endeared) darker-complexioned enslaved people.
Books by Deborah Gray White; Paula Giddings; bell
hooks; J. California Cooper; William Wells Brown;
etc. expose the truth about the urban-myth and
show that the lighter-complexioned enslaved
people received NO special treatment and were,
instead (due to being seen as mere "mongrels of
miscegenation") usually treated much worse than
were most darker-complexioned enslaved people.
Photos of groups of enslaved Mulatto/Multiracial people who worked in the fields of a plantation or in certain
(very rare) roles in the 'big house' under strict watch of enslaved Black people and wives of plantation owners
The hatred, fear and mistrust that many of the antebellum
and post-antebellum era White southerners felt toward the
people who were both of a light-complexion (mulatto / multiracial
lineage) and were also chattel-slaves, is very strongly presented
in the `D.W. Griffith' racist film `Birth of a Nation' where
pretty much all the trouble, tragedy and dangers found
experienced by White southern families in the film is
falsely presented as being caused by "uppity" Mulattoes
who `needed to be taught "their place" among White people'.
(i.e. the idea is presented that -- in order to have 'the good
'ole days' return -- the mulatto / multiracial formerly enslaved
people "needed" to be beaten, raped, lynched, etc.
by the "proud" White people who, it was assumed,
had been reared to make it clear that they felt
"no connection" to any non-White person).
Photo of one of the enslaved Mulatto / Multiracial people who
was forced to work in the fields of the John Henry Plantation
Photos of group of enslaved Mulatto / Multiracial people
who who were forced to work in the fields of a plantation
Photo of a group the enslaved Mulatto / Multiracial people
who were forced to work in the fields of a plantation