Essay On Slavery In The Middle Passage

Register to read the introduction… Slaves were stacked on top of each other during the packing process. Taken from their homes and family’s straight into the bondage of enslavement, slaves were whipped and beaten until they complied. One slave ship physician, Dr. Thomas Trotter, described the slaves as “locked ‘spoonways’ and locked to one another” (Document C). Slaves were chained together in the hold to prevent possible rebellions against their white abductors. It was very uncomfortable for the slaves in the tween decks, for there was no space for them to move, and even the slightest movements caused their shackles to cut into their skin. While many slaves obediently complied with restraints and orders, some dissented, causing them to face the severe consequences for their behavior. As Thomas Phillips, a slave ship captain, writes in his account of traveling the Middle Passage, “commanders [had] cut of the legs or arms of the most willful slaves” (Document B). By severing limbs of disobedient and unruly slaves, the commanders were able to display their supremacy over the slaves. These intimidations tactics scared the slaves into submission, allowing more control for their captors. Throughout the Middle Passage, the African slaves were exposed to much physical …show more content…
After capture, the slave captains wanted to break the slaves will to fight, for broken slaves had more value to future masters. Subsequently, more value on the auction block. Olaudah Equiano, a captured African slave, retells of his experiences aboard the slave ship by saying, “the shrieks of the women and the groans of the dying rendered the whole scene almost inconceivable” (Document e). Unable to comfort one another because of the shackles that bound them, the slaves sat in humiliation and discomfort, listening to the gut wrenching cries of their companions. Ottobah Cugoano, a slave, once stated, “death was more preferable than life…a plan was concerted among us that we might burn and blow up the ship…to perish together” (Document E). Living and experiencing the painful trip to the Americas took all the courage and strength the slaves could muster. Many slaves turned to thoughts of suicide, for it was the only thing that could relieve them of their despair. The trip across the Middle Passage was not for the faint of heart, for the emotional abuse the slaves faced on the Middle Passage was ruthless; only the strongest

Related Documents