FIGURE 4.4 The Tower of London
Several of London’s leading hotels have been social centers for more than seventy years: the Connaught, the Savoy, Claridges’s, the Dorchester, the Ritz, and Grosvenour House. The newer class hotels, the Intercontinental, the Inn on the Park, the Hilton, the Berkeley, Carlton Tower, are all highly priced to be used by the right people. The hotel staff can be a European melange: French chefs, Spanish chambermaids, West Indian dishwashers, and Americans sitting in the bars paying prices the English think outrageous (and are).
The British do many things with style. Where else will the hospitality officer of the Grosvenour House meet you at the airport. If arriving by ship in Southhampton, The Man with the Red Carnation will take you through customs and send you along to Waterloo Station (the Underground), where you will be picked up by another Grosvenour House employee.
The most important institution in slave communities was the family. United Kingdom Subway Map Some African-born slaves initially tried to marry within their ethnic group, but they were rarely able to do so. Other family traditions such as polygamy and bridal dowries also largely disappeared, victims of the slaves’ limited marriage choices and dowries. Even traditional nuclear families were in peril of being broken apart at any time, since slaveholders had no legal obligation to sell family members together. Some families never lived in the same household; a slave who married someone from a neighboring plantation would only be able to see his or her spouse at holidays and during time off on Sundays. As a result, the slaves’ definition of family was often based as much on personal relationships as it was on bloodlines. Africans who had come over on the same slave ship shared a deep bond. Plantation communities, which were large enough to contain multiple households but small enough so that everyone knew each other well, were really extended families where everyone not related by blood was still an aunt, uncle, or cousin. When parents and children were sold apart, members of the extended family quickly assumed parental responsibilities; there were no orphans in the slave community. On most plantations, slaves lived in a collection of small huts known as slave row. Though crudely built by uninterested masters, the slaves themselves organized, cleaned, and decorated their homes in traditional ways. The physical arrangement of many slave rows, for example, resembled that of West African villages. This became the center of the slaves’ culture, their refuge away from the master’s watchful eye. Many also tended small gardens, raising crops for personal consumption or for sale at local markets; some rural communities, in fact, became dependent on these gardens, since white landowners were focused on producing cash crops.