This series delves into the aspect of time, space, and the unseen. How plantation capitalism based on slave labor, a non-wage economic system that did not consider time or space but only the rhythm of each day from sunup to sundown and a slaves life from birth to death.
For slaves owning pocket watches or clocks to keep time was not allowed. Most of the antebellum plantation masters or overseers used a bell, as means to communicate with the slave workers that it was time to work which was usually early morning before sunset and in the dark, time for newborns to be fed by their breast feeding mothers working in the field at around noon, time to quit work which was typically after sunset and in the dark, time to go to bed, and on the very rare occasions, time to celebrate.
The beginning stanza in the original lyrics of "Jim Along Josey" song written by blackface minstrel performer Edward Harper in 1838 illustrates how slaves were conditioned to the bells ring:
"I’se from Lucianna as you all know, Dar where Jim along Josey’s all de go, Dem niggars all rise when de bell does ring, And dis is de song da dey do sing. Hey get along, get along Josey, hey get along, get along Jo!"
The rhythms of the season that began with planting to harvesting the cotton and sugar cane cash crops was the only time-based factor that mattered.
Time was rarely a factor but rather the amount of daylight within the season was the emergent clock. As documented in the Slave Narratives within the library of congress, their clock was from "can't see to can't see" their time was before sunrise and after sunset or when they were born or died.