Enslaved people's greatest act of collective resistance lay in the constant ways that they demonstrated their humanity and challenged the legitimacy of slavery. In the face of abominable conditions, enslaved African Americans created communities that gave meaning and purpose to their lives. At the heart of black communities lay two central institutions: family and religion. Slave marriages were not legally recognized in slave societies and as many as a third of all slave marriages were broken up by masters. In spite of this, enslaved African Americans formed long-term marital bonds.
The gin stand uses the teeth of rotating saws to pull the cotton through a series of "ginning ribs", which pull the fibers from the seeds which are too large to pass through the ribs. The cleaned seed is then removed from the gin via an auger conveyor system. The seed is reused for planting or is sent to an oil mill to be further processed into cottonseed oil and cottonseed meal. The lint cleaners again use saws and grid bars, this time to separate immature seeds and any remaining foreign matter from the fibers. The bale press then compresses the cotton into bales for storage and shipping. Modern gins can process up to 15 tonnes (33,000 lb) of cotton per hour.