For almost two and a half centuriesAfricans-Americans were in servitude to their white oppressors. During thisperiod, African cultures were slowly mixed with the English traditions, formingsomething new and distinctive (RTAP, 142). Many religious songs are still heardin black churches today, and various customs are still practiced (RTAP, 152). Even English-American traditions changed and adapted slightly to Africancultural traditions. Many slaves would entertain their owners children withfolktales and songs, often white folklorists would come and record the eveningsfestivities (RTAP, 146).
Famous childrens games such as Ring Around TheRosie originated from African games (RTAP, 152). Most of these folklores andsongs have been found to originate from Africa (RTAP, 146). Much folklore toldboth in Africa and America, had the same purposes: entertainment, prevention ofyouth promiscuity, teaching cooperation values, and the behavior of animals. Countless tales helped slaves cope with bondage, using characters to outwittheir masters and free themselves from servitude (RTAP, 148). Brer Rabbit wasone such character (RTAP, 162), he tricked his enemy into throwing into thebriar patch, The place where I was born, he would say (AP, 352). But thebriar patch was filled with thorns and roots, was this a reference to Africa orto slavery in America or neither?The slave practice of teaching songs and folklore remained an oral traditionfor many years, due to the ban on educating blacks (RTAP, 149).
Some slavechildren were fortunate in the chance of being educated. Many slave ownerschildren would come home from their daily lessons and teach the slave childrento read and write, while hiding in a remote part of the forest. Many slaveowners thought that if they taught the slaves to read and write then the slaveswould learn to think for themselves and maybe even rebel (RTAP, 163). Overall, without slavery and African traditions, America would be a dullreplica of Europe. America altered food, music, religion, sexual restraint, andliterature through learning the African culture.
Slaves helped American settlersdevelop their own traditions and sense of independence (RTAP, 158).From: “Retreiving The American Past”2001History