What would happen if a slave was badly beaten?
The law did not provide sufficient protection for
slaves; it was said that their masters were able to
punish their slaves as they saw fit, without being
unusually cruel or causing death. Unfortunately, in most
states, an African American could not bear witness
against a white person as they were not citizens - even
if two hundred slaves saw a white person commit murder.
If a slave died during correction, however, this was
considered an unfortunate accident and not punishable.
Did slaves have any free time?
After working up to more than fifteen hours in a day
with no breaks, a slave usually had the option of hiring
himself out on a Sunday, keeping any money he made for
clothes or utensils. Sunday would be also be a day to
fish or hunt if they had used up their meager rations,
or to wash and mend clothes.
Could slaves read from the bible?
Slaves were not permitted to read; it was illegal to
teach them for fear that it would 'ruin' them, or that
it would enable them to spread inflammatory material
inciting an uprising. A slave caught reading or writing
would be furiously whipped.
What happened if slaves ran away?
If they made it to free soil, they were relatively safe
until 1850, when the Fugitive Slave Act was made. This
made citizens personally accountable if they did not
capture known escaped slaves. After 1850, escaped slaves
were considered safe only when reaching Canada. However,
most slaves would be captured, maimed or killed by the
hounds, or deliberately choose to go back to their
master after trying to survive in the wild.
Punishment varied depending upon the amount of times
that a slave had escaped, and how cruel their master
was; generally the punishment would range from many
lashes for the first attempt, to branding, the slicing
of a nose, or castration.
What punishment did white people incur if they killed a freeman or a slave?
If it was from reasonable correction, they would be pardoned. If it was from manslaughter or murder to intent, they were charged a fine.
What punishment did a freeman or slave receive if they killed a white person?
They would be put to death.
What punishment did a slave receive if they were found guilty of inciting rebellion?
Whether slave, white, or free, all would receive the death penalty.