There were many different enslavement systems, each colonizer produced their own “code” and each crop had its own set of rules. The sugar plantation was the one with the most “social mobility” possible, the French & Spanish slave codes gave many more advantages to their slaves. The kids born of “mixed” race had a better chance, right to schooling, land rights, and even could own slaves. For a long time many used the system called “whitening the race” or “mejorando la raza” to better themselves.
It took me a while to figure out why different African communities in the Americas didn’t get along until I understood the resentment amongst themselves, African American, African English Caribbean, African Spanish Caribbean, African French Caribbean and African South American. Each subdivision’s animosity comes from those different rules while they were slaves, even in countries like Haiti they had two distinct sets of rules, one very liberal and another very conservative.
This is the inspiration for the collection Sugar Ladies, Free Ladies I am currently working on.
~ Art by Eleazar Delgado | works in progress