Black History | The Slave Whipping Post

whippingThe ordinary mode of punishing the slaves is both cruel and barbarous. The masters seldom, if ever, try to govern their slaves by moral influence but by whipping, kicking, beating, starving, branding, cat-hauling, loading with irons, imprisoning, or by some other cruel mode of torturing. They often boast of having invented some new mode of torture, by which they have “tamed the rascals.” What is called a moderate flogging at the south is horribly cruel.

The masters whip for the smallest offences, such as not performing their tasks, being caught by the guard or patrol by night, or for taking any thing from the master’s yard without leave. For these, and the like crimes, the slaves are whipped thirty-nine lashes, and sometimes seventy or a hundred, on the bare back. One slave, who was under my care, was whipped, I think one hundred lashes, for getting a small handful of wood from his master’s yard without leave. I heard an overseer boasting to this same master that he gave one of the boys seventy lashes, for not doing a job of work just as he thought it ought to be done. The owner of the slave appeared to be pleased that the overseer had been so faithful. The apology they make for whipping so cruelly is, that it is to frighten the rest of the gang. The masters say, that what we call an ordinary flogging will not subdue the slaves; hence the most cruel and barbarous scourgings ever witnessed by man are daily and hourly inflicted upon the naked bodies of these miserable bondmen; not by masters and negro-drivers only, but by the constables in the common markets and jailors in their yards.

When the slaves are whipped, either in public or private, they have their hands fastened by the wrists, with a rope or cord prepared for the purpose: this being thrown over a beam, a limb of a tree, or something else, the culprit is drawn up and stretched by the arms as high as possible, without raising his feet from the ground or floor: and sometimes they are made to stand on tip-toe; then the feet are made fast to something prepared for them. In this distorted posture the monster flies at them, sometimes in great rage, with his implements of torture, and cuts on with all his might, over the shoulders, under the arms, and sometimes over the head and ears, or on parts of the body where he can inflict the greatest torment.

Occasionally the whipper, especially if his victim does not beg enough to suit him, while under the lash, will fly into a passion, uttering the most horrid oaths; while the victim of his rage is crying, at every stroke, “Lord have mercy! Lord have mercy!” The scenes exhibited at the whipping post are awfully terrific and frightful to one whose heart has not turned to stone; I never could look on but a moment. While under the lash, the bleeding victim writhes in agony, convulsed with torture. Thirty-nine lashes on the bare back, which tear the skin at almost every stroke, is what the South calls a very moderate punishment!

Many masters whip until they are tired–until the back is a gore of blood–then rest upon it: after a short cessation, get up and go at it again; and after having satiated their revenge in the blood of their victims, they sometimes leave them tied, for hours together, bleeding at every wound.– Sometimes, after being whipped, they are bathed with a brine of salt and water. Now and then a master, but more frequently a mistress who has no husband, will send them to jail a few days, giving orders to have them whipped, so many lashes, once or twice a day. Sometimes, after being whipped, some have been shut up in a dark place and deprived of food, in order to increase their torments: and I have heard of some who have, in such circumstances, died of their wounds and starvation.

On plantations, the evenings usually present scenes of horror. Those slaves against whom charges are preferred for not having performed their tasks, and for various faults, must, after work-hours at night, undergo their torments. I have often heard the sound of the lash, the curses of the whipper, and the cries of the poor negro rending the air, late in the evening, and long before day-light in the morning.

It is very common for masters to say to the overseers or drivers, “put it on to them,” “don’t spare that fellow,” “give that scoundrel one hundred lashes,” &c. Whipping the women when in delicate circumstances, as they sometimes do, without any regard to their entreaties or the entreaties of their nearest friends, is truly barbarous.

If negroes could testify, they would tell you of instances of women being whipped until they have miscarried at the whipping-post. I heard of such things at the south–they are undoubtedly facts.

Children are whipped unmercifully for the smallest offences, and that before their mothers. A large proportion of the blacks have their shoulders, backs, and arms all scarred up, and not a few of them have had their heads laid open with clubs, stones, and brick-bats, and with the butt-end of whips and canes–some have had their jaws broken, others their teeth knocked in or out; while others have had their ears cropped and the sides of their cheeks gashed out. Some of the poor creatures have lost the sight of one of their eyes by the careless blows of the whipper, or by some other violence.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
This entry was posted in Black History, Civil Rights, Domestic Terrorism, History, Human Rights, Institutional Racism, Jim Crow laws, Open Thread, Racism, Slavery, Terrorism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Black History | The Slave Whipping Post

  1. Lonnie Starr says:

    As bad as this look at slavery is, the fact is there was even worse done, as unbelievable as that may seem, but it is true. I’ve captured some of it over on my “HistoricalView” blog where I continue to add to the collection.

  2. A.a says:

    “Some of the poor creatures have lost the sight of one of their eyes by the careless blows of the whipper, or by some other violence.” We are not creatures, we’re humans. I almost screamed when I red that part, who has this much ignorance? Who, oh clearly the guy who wrote it

    • Willoww says:

      How about you read and understand the context?
      Sentences like this, ‘I heard an overseer boasting ‘, demonstrate that it was written by a person of that time. The term ‘creature’ was used towards anybody and was many times used to denote something ‘cute’, like a child. It wasn’t in any way a statement here to say ‘blacks are worth less and are animals’.
      Understand the meaning of something before just assuming it’s always ‘racism’.

  3. Louis Ritchie says:

    Each and all of us will soon enough give an account. What’s on yours?

  4. Ametia says:

    These scenes in the photo gallery clearly show the soulessness, the evil, inhumane and barbaric nature of these bastards. They truly are the DEVIL INCARNATE.

  5. Another form of slave punishment. Cat Hauling: Take a cat by the nape of the neck and tail, or by the hind legs, and drag the claws across the back of a slave.

  6. majiir says:

    I saw an ad by some GOPTP group on TV this morning laying claim to Frederick Douglass being a “limited government republican.” I guess this is the next phase of the GOPTP outreach to blacks and other minorities, but I don’t think it will work because the Republican Party of 1860s America is not today’s Republican Party. Even if most minorities don’t know this, they know what they’re seeing coming out of the GOP—the hate, the distortion of Christianity, fear-mongering, warmongering, vile language, laziness, callousness toward the plight of the poor and middle class, pushing violence as a “solution” for any problem they encounter, and claiming to be for limited government while invading every aspect of our personal lives, among other things. Most republicans are white, and they continue to underestimate blacks and other minorities. They truly seem to think we’re stupid. They also seem to think that the propaganda tactics they use to get most whites to vote for them will work on us. I don’t think so. When you’re constantly targeted, disparaged, know someone doesn’t want you to vote if you don’t vote for their politicians, stereotyped, thought to be a lesser child of God because you were born into a minority group, and scapegoated, it’s very hard to throw your lot in with a pit of vipers, knowing they’re ready to bite your behind at any time.

  7. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    “…I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of the land… I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels.

    “Never was there a clearer case of ‘stealing the livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in.’ I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which every where surround me. We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members.

    “The man who wields the blood-clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus. . . . The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master.”
    ~ Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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