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Kids, especially girls, played non-competitive games like jump rope. It was important that the slaves work together and not build competition among them, perhaps to not appear to be stronger than the other in case of sale or barter with other plantations.

Children of all sizes kept busy with both good and bad means of entertainment. Older kids might sneak away and gamble by playing craps or perhaps smut. Smut was similar to a card game with the exception that various grains of corn with marks were used to distinguish the suit and numbers.

Some of the items children would amuse themselves with were stick horses, moon winders, tops and drums.

While the kids were given small tasks to complete, which gave them time for creative games, they were subjected to unfair games with the white children of the big house. Perhaps they were “locked in jail” or provoked to play games that required more skill than they were allowed to acquire as slaves.

Little Known Black History Fact: Plantation Games  was originally published on

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