Saturday, December 22, 2007


OVERSEER An overseer was normally a white man appointed by a slavemaster to supervise the work of black slaves and, in the absence of the slavemaster himself, to run the entire opera­tion of the plantation. Generally appointed on a year-to-year basis, overseers were particularly common to those large planta­tions utilizing the service of thirty or more slaves. On especially large plantations, the overseer was assisted by one or more black slavedrivers and, occasionally, a black suboverseer.

The slavedrivers and suboverseers were trusted slaves used to maintain a regimented work schedule in the fields and to im­pose disciplinary measures when necessary. On smaller planta­tions, the use of overseers was uncommon. Most medium-sized plantations (15-30 slaves) were personally supervised by the slavemaster himself with the aid of a black slave foreman or slavedriver, while smaller units (less than a half-dozen slaves) had neither overseers nor slavedrivers.

No comments: