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The lives of enslaved children in the United States followed identifiable patterns, and their childhood, which was much like adulthood, was truncated within an environment requiring them to face arduous work, arbitrary power, and injustice at early ages. Crucial to their survival was learning to behave as a child and slave simultaneously. This entry examines the arrival of African children in colonial America and how the experience of being enslaved impacted their experience of childhood. Further attention is given to the gendered division of labor among young enslaved individuals and the actions these young people took to survive and pursue freedom.

Arrival in Colonial America

African children were abducted, sold, and enslaved in the Americas. Their presence is noted in narratives by Middle Passage survivors, official records, ...

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