Slave barracks were a common form of slave housing used in the 17th century. They were cheap and required little upkeep, which was ideal for plantation owners. Barracks were often constructed to look like wooden huts. Beds and furniture were not always allowed, forcing slaves to make makeshift beds out of planks or sleep on the floor. Slaves often created their own extended families, as so many were crammed into tiny living spaces, which played a role in strengthening bonds.

Slaves were sometimes allowed to plant and harvest their own small-cash crops just outside the barracks. As they were not often supplied enough food to survive, these gardens saved many slaves from starvation.

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