House Negro and Field Negro

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The terms "House Negro" and "Field Negro" refer to two types of plantation slaves. The "House Negro" was the slave who labored in the master's home and often resided there. The "field" Negro was the slave who toiled in the fields and slept in slave quarters away from the master's dwelling. In black culture, the House and Field Negro have come to symbolize significant identities in relationship to the white power structure. The House Negro was seen as favored by his master over the Field Negro and thus more loyal to his master than to members of his own race. The House Negro was often lighter complected and privileged by his master as closer to white and deserving of a less arduous servitude. The Field Negro, often darker complected, was less privileged. He enjoyed none of the "comforts" of the master's residence and performed the most toilsome tasks under the punishment of the elements and the overseer's lash. Thus "House Negro" became a designation for a black person who was seen by blacks as willing to do the white man's bidding, and as more loyal to whites than to blacks. Accordingly, "Field Negro" represented the black person who was dissatisfied with his lot, resentful of the white man, and more inclined to rebel.