making ones own tools for controlling ones own environment even under slavery

(Always good to see one’s idols get corrected, especially in even more radical ways, WEB Du Bois didn’t give slaves enough credit for their agency in keeping their ‘home’ piece of the plantation sanitary.)

Maintaining a clean environment provided order to a life often chaotic, and enslaved people used the surrounding materials to manufacture their brooms. Though enslavers usually provided tools for economic production, enslaved people were required to furnish their own utilities for personal use. Such sentiments are reflected in the narrative of Della Fountain, who recounted, “We had no brooms…so we made brush brooms to sweep our floors.”