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Middle Passage - From Africa to America
Transcript of Middle Passage - From Africa to America
Speculum Oris "Faced with the nightmarish conditions of the voyage and the unknown future that lay beyond, many Africans preferred to die. But even the choice of suicide was taken away from these persons. From the captain's point of view, his human cargo was extremely valuable and had to be kept alive and, if possible, uninjured. A slave who tried to starve him or herself was tortured. If torture didn't work, the slave was force fed with the help of a contraption called a speculum orum. It was forced violently into the slave’s mouth to pry his mouth open; which would then give the opportunity for the slave trader to pour the gruel down the slave’s throat. It only cost the slave a few teeth to do this, to deny him the right to die." In Bondage Slave Recollection "Symbols of slavery’s barbarity, iron shackles told archaeologists for certain what type of ship had wrecked in 1700 at New Ground Reef off the Florida Keys. More than 80 of these restraints, two of them padded with twine (above), were recovered from Henrietta Marie’s remains. The twine was used to prevent chafing, says marine archaeologist David Moore. “But it was an economic thing, not a humane one. Fewer scars on the slaves meant higher value.” Whether it was commonplace to wrap the iron loops remains a mystery. “I’ve never seen it documented in the historical records,” he says." Olaudah Equiano Olaudah Equiano was kidnapped and taken from him home in what is now know as Nigeria, West Africa. At the age of ten, Equiano was sold into slavery. In 1789 he wrote and published his life story, in the form of a narrative, and called it "The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself". The book opened up white readers eyes to the prejudice, injustice and brutality of the slave trade. He recounted being on a slave ship: "I became so sick and low that I was not able to eat, nor had I the least desire to taste anything. I now wished for the last friend, Death to relieve me; but soon to my grief, two of the white men offered me eatables; and on my refusing to eat, one of them held me fast by the hands and laid me across I think the windlass and tied my feet, while the other flogged me severely. I had never experienced anything of this kind before; and although, not being used to the water, I naturally feared that element the first time I saw it; yet nevertheless, could I have got over the nettings, I would have jumped over the side, but I could not." Cat o'nine Tails "The nine cords or tails represent the nine lives of a cat and the whip also left marks like the scratches of a cat. On board ship the whip was kept in a bag, and the 'cat was let out of the bag' for a flogging. Plenty of room was needed to swing the whip without the tails getting caught, hence the saying 'no room to swing a cat'. This cat o'nine tails is made of leather, ivory and rope, and dates from the 18th or 19th century. Whips like this would have been used during the transatlantic slave trade by sailors to punish African captives on board ship." Alexander Falconbridge, a former slave ship’s surgeon wrote his Account of Slave Trade on the Coast of Africa in 1788 which described the loss of life, the state of the holds below deck, and how some severely depressed Africans willed themselves to die:
"A woman was dejected from the moment she came on board, and refused both food and medicine; being asked by the interpreter what she wanted, she replied ‘nothing but to die’, and she did die". Slaves boarding ships in Africa Reproduction of a handbill advertising a slave auction in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1769. Stowed like Cattle Document: Stowage of British Slave Ship Brookes under the Regulated Slave Trade Act of 1788
One of the captions reads : Plan of Lowe Deck with the stowage of 292 slaves 130 of these being stowed UNDER the shelves as shewn in Figure D and Figure 5.
Another: Plan shewing the storage of 130 additional slaves round the wings or sides of the lower deck by means of platforms or shelves (in the manner of galleries in a church).
The slaves stowed ON the shelves and BELOW them have only a height of 2 feet 7 inches between the beams and far less under the beams. Routes that Ships took for the transportation of Slaves Stowage of the British Slave Ship Brookes under the Regulated Slave Trade. 2010. Library of CongressWeb. 24 Oct 2012. <http://www.loc.gov/rr/rarebook/guide/ra023002.html>. American History 101. 2012. THE COMMUNIST DAILYWeb. 24 Oct 2012. <http://communistdaily.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/american-history-101/>. Block, Ira. Tool of the Trade. N.d. National GeographicWeb. 24 Oct 2012. <http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0208/feature4/zoom3.html>. The Middle Passage - Atlantic Slave Trade - Ca. 1600-1800. N.d. Courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives & History.Web. 24 Oct 2012. <http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/workshops/geography/middle-passage.gif>. The Middle Passage. N.d. The National Great Blacks in Wax MuseumWeb. 24 Oct 2012. <http://www.greatblacksinwax.org/Exhibits/middle_pass.htm>. The Tools of the Abolitionists. N.d. BBC HistoryWeb. 24 Oct 2012. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/abolition/abolition_tools_gallery_04.shtml>. Recovered Histories. "Narratives from the Collection on The Middle Passage ." Accessed October 25, 2012. http://www.recoveredhistories.org/pamphlet1.php?page=1&orderby=MaxID&catid=602&page=70. Arrival in America Personal Account Diagram of how slaves were to be stowed on the ship Understanding Slavery Initiative. "'Cat o'nine tails'." Accessed October 25, 2012. http://www.understandingslavery.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=532:cat-onine-tails&catid=145&Itemid=255. Thank you for viewing my presentation