The second largest continent in the world, Africa is huge, complex land mass occupied by thousands of tribes and nations. West Africa, from which most slaves came, contains tremendous differences in culture, language, and political and economic structure. An African woman could have expected to participate to participate in the economic life of the community out side her own home. Along the coast of West Africa, which most slaves came, women were often traders, an especially important role in an area where the economy was still primarily mercantile rather than industrial. An African woman could also have expected to own and control some of her own property after marriage without having to get permission from her husband. In many areas women could buy land or goods. Women in all parts of the world had an affect through their husband and sons but African women had formal structure through which to work, making decisions and effecting changes that have an impact on the entire tribe or nation. In those days, African women had somewhat more power and autonomy than women in European countries. But how far did their power reach? (Shining Thread Of Hope Pg 10)
Women in Africa could trade, own property, and sometimes collectively influence political decisions, but they could not exercise power over men. In most places, for example, women, girls, young children were not allowed to eat until the men and boys had finished, and they were forbidden to eat certain highly nutrition food. An African woman was accustomed to being resourceful, determined, and somewhat independent economically. She probably had all the qualities to a greater degree than the average young woman in Belgium or France. To that degree, the enslaved African woman had a cultural advantage, a background that would help her survive in the New World if she brought it with her. Slavery was a great eraser, and enslaved Africans came to northern farms and southern plantations as bla…