African Diaspora and slavery In The Americas History Essay

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The Europeans projected pornographies of their former lives onto African slaves. Africans were held captive, stored as human cargo, in a barbaric fashion in The "New World" Colonies. In 1718, the British Parliament passed the Transportation Act, which enacted to exile prisoners and separate them from the general populace by placing them in a remote location, often an island or distant colonial territory. Arriving to the thirteen colonies as Indentured Servants, the ex-convicts provided cheap immediate labor for many planters and merchants. Upon completion of bondage, the servants resided in majority Maryland and Virginia area. The incursion of prisoners outraged the colonists already presiding in the new developed Anglo region, however, some returned to England after their term of servitude ended.

The shift from indentured servants to African slaves was prompted by a dwindling class of former servants who had worked through the terms of their indentures and consequently became competitors to their former masters. The newly freed servants were rarely able to support themselves comfortably, and the tobacco industry was increasingly dominated by largeplanters. Eventually, chattel slavery became the norm in regions dominated by plantations. To justify hypocrisy, many of the Europeans groups believed that slaves were inferior to Europeans and were suitable for servitude.

In West Africa, rivalry for land and cultural conflict affected West African nations for centuries. Many feuds between villages and civil wars at the national level were been common in West African history. There are many accounts of conflict, such as Venture Smiths, a man who described his enslavement post his enslavement. (Five Black Lives: The Autobiographies of Venture Smith, James Mars [and others]. Introduction by Arna Bontemps. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1971. A collection of early colonial narratives.)(will include his info, primary source 1)

Europeans did not introduce slavery to Africa. As African rulers rose and fell, their political opponents, people of high social status, and their families were sold to promote internal political stability. Poor people were sold to resolve debts owed by themselves or their families. Chiefs sold people as punishment for crimes. Gangs of Africans and a few marauding Europeans captured free Africans who were also sold into slavery. European slave traders did not march into the interior of West Africa to capture slaves. They worked out of established trading posts on the coasts. Slave traders made contact with coastal kingdoms and offered weapons, ammunition, and other desired valuable trade items in exchange for slaves. Kingdoms that chose to trade with Europeans were relatively safe from slavery. Their leaders amassed large armies to march through the countryside collecting slaves and ransoms.

The average height of European men in the eighteenth century was five feet seven inches. The additional height of West Africans (and the strength and endurance they were believed to have) made them attractive as laborers as slave merchants. Slave captives were typically bound and secured with ropes or vines for transport. By linking the captives in groups, captors needed to lead only the first captive in line. This practice sets an easier marching pace and prevents runaways.

European slave traders constructed castle forts on the coast and on nearby islands. Slaves brought in for sale were stored in the castles or in pens near the beaches in terrible conditions. When, after weeks or months, the slave ships arrived, slaves were lined up and inspected for health and strength. Deformed slaves were rejected, (often beat or killed). Those that were accepted were branded and chained before being stored in cargo holds for transport.

The effects of the trade on African civilization and culture were devastating. African societies lost kinship networks and agricultural laborers and production capacity. The loss of people meant the loss of indigenous artisans and craftsmen along with their knowledge of textile production, weaving and dying, metallurgy and metalwork, carving, basket making, potting skills, architecture, and agricultural techniques upon which their societies depended. Africa's loss was the New World's gain. These were the same expertise and skills that Africans brought to the New World along with their physical labor and ability to acclimate to harsh environments that made them indispensable in the development of the new colonies and nations of the Western Hemisphere.

During their voyage slaves were governed by a system of fear, torture, and brutalization. This type of system was enforced by slavers in order to contain the slaves who were desperate, afraid, and would usurp any opportunity to regain their freedom by overthrowing the crew in order to obtain control of the ship. Slaves were branded with hot irons and shackled two by two. The left wrist and ankle of a slave bound to the right wrist and ankle of another and during a stormy voyage it would not be uncommon for the elbows, wrist, and ankles of the slaves to be worn down to the bone. They were forced to live in a hold or deck -the head room divided by two-ranging no more than five feet. Tightly packed with little to no room to sit up. Made to sleep with no covering on hard wooden floors

Slaves endure many injustices, such as; inability to breathe, constant beatings, eyewitness torment of a fellow slave, rape, and hopelessness among others. There was also disease: smallpox, scurvy, dysentery, and more. These diseases often spread from slaves to the crew, killing a myriad of people. Along this journey many slaves found themselves in a state of dejection. As they saw there was no longer a reason to live. At this point some slaves would jump off the ship and remain under water, until they killed themselves. Others would starve themselves to death. This causing the captain to resort to drastic measures, for fear of losing his valuable cargo. The slaves who chose to starve themselves would be force-fed or tortured, if not both. Africans would often be forced to eat with what is called a "speculum orum", a device which held the mouth open. They could not even elude enslavement through death.

Then, there were those contrary moments when slaves were expendable and partial reimbursement, if not all, could be acquired through insurance. Circumstances such as, food would run low or some slaves would not recover from their illnesses. The voyage was insured, but reimbursement did not include slaves who had been taken ill or slaves that died from

The total number of Africans imported to the New World by the slave trade range from 25 million to 50 million; of these, perhaps as many as half died at sea during the Middle Passage experience. The journey from Africa to North America could take between thirty to one hundred twenty days. The vessels were called "loose packers" or "tight packers," where captives were laid side by side, coffin like, beneath the deck. The ships carried the stench of diseased and decaying bodies, and slavers often threw unruly Africans overboard, which lured sharks along these shipping lanes.

Olaudah Equiano, of the Igbo tribe in what is now modern Nigeria, wrote a account of the horrors of the Middle Passage.(will include his accountprimary souce 2) Kidnapped and sold into slavery at the age of eleven, Equiano recounted the shock of seeing white people purchase slaves in Africa and the fear aroused by the claim that whites ate Africans or drank their blood. Slave-ship captains were given incentives for delivering only healthy, salable men and women to American slave markets. As a result, certain circumstances could lead to the mass murder of their African cargo at sea. When captives seemed too sick to survive the journey, slavers were known to hurl the weak and infirm into the sea. At other times, storms at sea or shortages of drinking water might lead to the mass execution of captives as well. In fact, records show that captains who ordered Africans overboard at sea often sought reimbursement from insurance companies for their losses.

Humanity in a society is a all-inclusive process in which the past is never total eliminated. African culture and personality were not like "old clothes" that could be taken off and repudiated. The ability of anyone learning simple things was dependent upon utilizing the existing cultural apparatus set forth for the slave upon arrival to the "New World". The Africans in the New World repressed their emotions in order to physically adapt to the his new environment which was dependent upon his African culture. Africans coming from mostly West Africa, were stolen or captured and taken from their homes with virtually nothing with them except themselves, each of them partitioned among dozens of distinct peoples, each with their distinct customs and religions, but united by a long period of continual interaction and consequent cultural borrowing, they were jumbled together on board the slave ships, "seasoned" by the middle passage" across the salt water and then "seasoned" again in their first years in the New World.

The Africans had to give up their most of all of their culture to become American slaves.

The Africans who survived the conditions were put on display at public auctions and examined in a ridiculous and humiliating manner for a second time. European Buyers' licked the African's chin to determine the age of the slave, or taste his sweat to decipher if he was healthy. Once purchased, the slaves did not know if they would receive a pleasant owner. If Americans and Europeans had used such a harsh manner to obtain slaves, it was probably nearly impossible for slaves to believe that once they were in America or Europe that there would be an improvement.

Jefferson's writings About Africans in the New World displays entrenched diffidence of moral affliction concerning African slavery; interestingly Jefferson never freed his own slaves. In fact, Jefferson had a long time affair with a Negro slave Sally Hemings, who was fourteen at the time and whom he chose as a lifelong sexual partner. During this long affair Jefferson publicly claimed that Black men preferred white women and that "Africans were close to apes". (Hines, Hines, Harrold, 2006,pg.)

In spite of the ideals that he expressed in the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a slaveholder and hippacrite. He was a slaveholder encompassed with general slaveholder Principles. Rhetorically, Finkelman notes, Jefferson depised slavery, but the hatred was primarily based on several factors which demonstrated Jefferson's incompacity to surpass class and race or to rectitude the principles of his Declaration. He hated slavery because he despised blacks; they were, Jefferson believed, of a different order from whites. "Race, more than their status as slaves, doomed blacks to permanent inequality" (p. 108). He hated slavery because it brought Africans to the nation and made them permanent residents. He hated slavery because of its impact on whites, not because of what it did to blacks. Jefferson's lasting contribution to racial matters was a host of sorry platitudes comforting to generations of racist thinkers. He characterized black people as "dull, tasteless, inferior in mind and body, emotional, lacking a capacity for citizenship, undeserving of emancipation and bearing an offensive odor." (Hines, Hines, Harrold, 2006, pg.) When confronted with clear examples of Black intellectual achievement, he was unpersuaded. (Hines ,Hines, Harrold, 2006, pg.) Jefferson, regarded as Americas paramount Founding Father, and the equal of Abraham Lincoln as an American icon, has been placed on a pedestal the better to distort our history.

Years after African Slaves were captured, sold by their people to a persons of a different culture, language and way of life. The Slaves, now African Americans remembered their "Old World" traditions by their adaptativeness to America. The Africans were forced to give up their native languages and sought expression of themselves through the interaction of their white counterparts. The interaction between slave masters and slaves, gave African Americans the ability to navigate from broken kinship systems to create new ones. The removal of African Slaves from their "Old World" social order, forced them to almost obliterate their culture and become American Slaves. Slaves had a difficult task in adjusting not only to their environment but and their new social relationships. African Heritages were intermixed and a new form of heritage and culture emerged from constant interaction with other African slaves from different plantations.

Before the war:

After the war: Black codes, marginalized the rights of Africans Americans just as slavery. African Americans abide by the black codes or they would be arrested for vagrancy( which is for being poor) The kkk's didn't make life better it made life much

The Freedmens Bureau was set up to help Negros. They offered a variety of service, Healthcare, food and schools. Nearly a quarter of a million slaves received education in 1869. Then The Freedmens Bureau was stopped and the Negro's were propertyless. Southerner's didn't want to sell to the Negro's because the thought that the Negros might fell themselves entitled to full citizenship rights.


(Will include more for conclusion, please list what I should cover in conclusion)

Many auctions ripped mothers away from their children, husbands away from their wives, sisters away from brothers. It is devastating to envision how this must have affected a human being. Scrutiny passed from one to the other, from mother to child, and so on. Three hundred years of slaves being chained together, thrown overboard to drown. Three hundred years of slaves tightly packed together suffocating from the lack of air ventilation. Three hundred years of kidnapping. Three hundred years of children being taken from their mothers. Three hundred years of rape. Three hundred years of fear. Three hundred years of crying. Three hundred years of enslavement. Three hundred years of treating a human as though they weren't human at all.