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Holing cane

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– Holing cane was a process on plantations involving slave labor gangs.
– Field slaves were divided into three gangs based on their work abilities.
– The lead gang dug cane holes, the second gang planted cane cuttings, and the third gang weeded, caught rats, and served as gofers.
– White field supervisors marked off the cane field in 4-to-5-foot squares.
– The lead gang dug holes 6 to 9 inches deep and 2 to 3 feet long.

**Planting Process**
– The secondary gang set cuttings of previous years’ cane in the holes.
– Cuttings were covered with a mixture of manure and soil.
– Manure mixture was carried by hand in baskets to avoid damage.
– Cuttings were arranged in rows to disperse moisture and prevent fungal diseases.
– Planting was contracted out by plantation owners to protect their enslaved workforce.

– Abbott, Elizabeth’s book “Sugar: A Bittersweet History”.
– Parker, Matthew’s book “The Sugar Barons”.
– Agriculture article stub on holing cane.
– Categories include Slavery in North America, History of sugar, and Agriculture stubs.
– Hidden category: All stub articles.

– Holing cane involved back-breaking labor.
– Weather conditions like wetness or parched soil complicated the process.
– Cut canes and roots from previous plantings added to the difficulty.
– Many crops were ruined by fungal diseases each year.
Plantation owners hired jobbing gangs due to the brutal nature of cane holing.

– The process of holing cane was physically demanding and harsh.
– Field slaves endured grueling conditions to complete the planting.
Plantation owners relied on this labor-intensive process to cultivate sugar cane.
– The system of holing cane perpetuated the exploitation of enslaved individuals.
– The practice of holing cane reflected the inhumane treatment of slaves on plantations.

**Historical Significance**
– Holing cane was a key aspect of sugar cane cultivation in plantations.
– The division of labor among field slaves highlighted the hierarchy and exploitation.
– The process of holing cane contributed to the economic success of plantations.
– The brutal nature of cane holing underscored the dehumanization of enslaved individuals.
– The legacy of holing cane serves as a reminder of the dark history of slavery in North America.

Holing cane (Wikipedia)

Holing cane was a process by which slave labor gangs planted sugar cane on plantations.

Field slaves were generally divided into three gangs based on their ability to work. The lead gang was responsible for digging cane holes; the second gang would plant the cane cuttings, and the third gang—typically composed of the least able-bodied workers and the very young—would be required to weed the fields, catch rats, and serve as gofers.

The process began with white field supervisors marking off the cane field in a checkerboard of 4-to-5-foot (1.2 to 1.5 m) squares. Within each square the lead gang would dig a hole approximately 6 to 9 inches (150 to 230 mm) deep and 2 to 3 feet (0.61 to 0.91 m) long. This back-breaking labor was often complicated by wet weather or parched soil, and a network of cut canes and roots from the previous year's planting.

The secondary gang would set cuttings of the previous year's cane in the holes and cover them with a mixture of manure and soil. The manure mixture was carried by hand in baskets to avoid damage to the plantings. The cuttings would be arranged in rows to allow the prevailing winds to disperse moisture in and around the cane, reducing the chances of fungal diseases, which ruined many crops each year (see List of sugarcane diseases).

Cane holing was such brutal work that many plantation owners contracted with jobbing gangs to plant the crop in order to protect their capital investment in their own enslaved workforce.

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