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10 Toys and Games Enslaved Black Children Played with Growing Up



Hide the Switch
The rules of this game are as follows: One child takes a thin, strong branch, or “switch” and hides it. The children then begin to look for the switch. Whoever finds the switch can then chase after and whip the other children with it. An article published on states that this game “be viewed as an attempt to deal psychologically with the constant fear of the lash and the authority of the Master.”


Slave Auction Block

Role Play
Enslaved African children would often imitate their reality as a form of play. According to a report released by The National Archives of the United Kingdom, role play was “an important psychological activity; it helped slave children in socialization and in the acceptance of distressing situations through role play games such as slave auction recreations.”

Furthermore, in her book, Stolen Childhood: Slave Youth in Nineteenth-Century America, Wilma King writes of an instance in which a white boy tied two enslaved children to a toy cart. They were forced to act as horses, dragging a cart as they were whipped by the young white boy. This scenario sheds light on the fact that white people of all ages deemed Black people, young and old, as animalistic beings, as opposed to human beings.

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