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Posts Tagged ‘Harriet Ann Jacobs

“If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong”*…

 

slave canoe

In West Africa, canoes were the main vehicles for transporting slaves from the coast to the transatlantic vessel. According to The Illustrated London News, during the 1840’s, in Sierra Leone, such canoes could carry 200 slaves in their bottom. The dimensions of these canoes were “about 40 feet long, 12 broad, and seven or eight feet deep”

 

This digital memorial raises questions about the largest slave trades in history and offers access to the documentation available to answer them. European colonizers turned to Africa for enslaved laborers to build the cities and extract the resources of the Americas. They forced millions of mostly unnamed Africans across the Atlantic to the Americas, and from one part of the Americas to another. Analyze these slave trades and view interactive maps, timelines, and animations to see the dispersal in action.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database now comprises 36,000 individual slaving expeditions between 1514 and 1866. Records of the voyages have been found in archives and libraries throughout the Atlantic world. They provide information about vessels, routes, and the people associated with them, both enslaved and enslavers. Sources are cited for every voyage included. Users may search for information about a specific voyage or group of voyages. The website provides full interactive capability to analyze the data and report results in the form of statistical tables, graphs, maps, a timeline, and an animation…

The Trans-Atlantic and Intra-American slave trade databases are the culmination of several decades of independent and collaborative research by scholars drawing upon data in libraries and archives around the Atlantic world. The new Voyages website itself is the product of three years of development by a multi-disciplinary team of historians, librarians, curriculum specialists, cartographers, computer programmers, and web designers, in consultation with scholars of the slave trade from universities in Europe, Africa, South America, and North America…

Explore one of the two darkest chapters in American history: “Slave Voyages.”

(For the other, start here… and for a sense of scale: “European colonization of Americas killed so many it cooled Earth’s climate.“)

To paraphrase William Wilberforce, we may choose to look the other way but we can never say again that we did not know.

* Abraham Lincoln

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As we face history, we might spare a thought for Harriet Ann Jacobs; she died on this date in 1897.  An escaped slave who was later freed, she became an abolitionist speaker and reformer.  Jacobs wrote an autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, first serialized in a newspaper, then published as a book in 1861 under the pseudonym “Linda Brent.”  It was one of the first books to address the struggle for freedom by female slaves, and to explore their struggles with sexual harassment and abuse, and their efforts to protect their roles as women and mothers.

220px-Harriet_Ann_Jacobs1894 source

 

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