One way that slaves showed their humanity despite the dehumanizing ways of slavery was by resisting slavery by doing things such as: committing suicide, refusing to eat, refusing to drink, refusing to work, trying to escape, killing their owners, sabotaging the plantation, and others. These actions show their humanity because the slaves made the choice to do these things. Unlike inanimate objects with no humanity, they, in these ways, did not stay still and quiet while their owners used them as they pleased. They showed their innate desire to be their own person, a desire that all humans have.
There were several occurrences of revolts where people willingly sacrificed their life at the opportunity to being free and freeing others. With being part of a revolt there is the freewill to decide to join or not. There are also several examples of when people did not revolt even when given the opportunity. The Creole Slave Revolt occurred while slaves were being transported from Virginia to New Orleans; this was done because America had stopped international slave trade so the slaves needed to be transported to New Orleans which still traded slaves internationally. About seventeen people seeing the opportunity to finally be free; took over the ship and forced the captains of the ship to sail them to the Bahamas. Once they reached the Bahamian coast all the people were free as a result of the British having control of the Bahamas and abolishment of slavery when compared to America. The only exception as a consequence of the captain being killed is that the people who lead the revolt had to remain and could not be freed. Interestingly is that beyond the people who lead the revolt there were three women, a girl, and a boy who decided to return to slavery within America. Another example of the emotion and passion being amongst the enslaved people are the Stono Rebellion this was the biggest slave revolt within the thirteen colonies. Lead by Jemmy the slaves started at a warehouse where they killed its owners and placed their heads upon the front steps. Afterwards the rebellion continued on going from house to house killing slavers as they journeyed to St.Augustine in Florida where they could be freed of slavery. Even though there was a slave rebellion occurring not all slaves joined. Some even helped to hid their masters. Unfortunately the rebellion was killed before most had the opportunity to reach St.Augustine.
Enslaved peoples also showed their humanity in less subtle ways - by simply living their lives despite the horrors of slavery and by finding beauty in the midst of their dire situations. Enslaved peoples in the United States were not considered to be fully human, so some people thought their relationships were driven by primitive instincts, rather than the emotions associated with humanity. American law did not even recognize the familial ties of enslaved peoples as legitimate. However, slaves defied these notions by forming families. Slaves also showed their humanity through their spirituality, a quality that is exclusively human. Some slaves had a Christian faith, which led them to form their own churches, and others retained indigenous beliefs which they demonstrated throughout their lives. In American slavery, It was against the law for enslaved peoples to mourn their loved ones when they died. However, when a slave died, other slaves would go against this law by burying their loved ones and having some type of gathering in their honor. Songs were also an important and inspirational part of everyday life for slaves. Songs like “Wade in the Water” and “Roll Jordan Roll” diverted from the drudge of enslavement, inspired hope and strength, and sometimes were even code for ways of escape. Slaves found a way to connect to their humanity and and rise above their circumstances through the music they created.
Just to exist as a slave during slavery is honorable within itself. There is no proper way to live as a slave, and every life that went through this occurrence is one that should be applauded. Whether, as a slave, they lived their lives in compliance to the orders, rebelled, or caused revolts, there is still an aspect of one’s humanness within it all.