Slaves were often put on the auction block to be sold into slavery. A lot of the enslaved families were split up, but luckily in this story, Billy, and his sister, Millie, were not.
Slaves for sale! Come get them while they still last!
Billy became a field slave, spending hours on end picking cotton in the fields under the blazing hot southern sun. Field slaves were supervised by overseers to make sure they were doing what they were supposed to. This system was called the gang system where slaves were divided into groups to work in the fields for many hours until their overseers told them the day was done.
Get back to work!
Slave codes in southern states prohibited slaves to own property, to leave their masters' property without permission, to be out after dark, to gather with other slaves other than at church, to carry weapons, or to harm a white person, even in self-defense.
What's for dinner?
Millie was given new, clean clothes and became a house slave. Her chores were to cook meals for her masters and clean the house. She was supervised by and sometimes worked along side the master's wife.
Soup. Millie is making it.
When Billy was not working in the fields, he spent time, mostly just to sleep, at his shack where he bonded with other field slaves, and where the overseers were off duty.
Glad to see that you are back, Billy!
Millie slept on the hard, kitchen floor with an old blanket her master gave her, by the fire. The other indoor slaves normally slept around where they worked, so normally the personal slaves slept on the floor of their specific master's bedroom.
Every Sunday, when the masters and overseers would go to church, Billy and Millie would step away from their chores to catch up with one another, even though it was against the rules. They were so fortunate to be on the same plantation that it was worth the risk to see each other.