African family traditions, which varied according to national origin and religion, could not be replicated in the New World after Africans were forced into slavery. The slave trade was responsible for breaking up African families. Husbands, wives and children could be sold separately because U.S. law did not legally recognize their families.
Enslaved Black people were denied a secure family life. Because they were property and could not legally marry, a permanent family could not be a guaranteed part of enslaved people’s lives. They had no right to live or stay together, no right to their own children, and it was common for enslaved parents and children to live apart.