Pan Africanism : The Middle Passage

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by NNQueen, Apr 6, 2004.

  1. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Can we discuss something called "the middle passage"?

    Many of you may have heard of this term before but still few of us might fully understand what it means. Yes, it had everything to do with the trans-Atlantic slave trade of Africans, but how often do you actually get to see what it was really like for our ancestors as they made that infamous voyage and get a glimpse of what happened to them when they arrived to America chained and shackled? Here's one set of information I found on the web that gives a description of the middle passage. . .

    "For weeks, months, sometimes as long as a year, they waited in the dungeons of the slave factories scattered along Africa's western coast. They had already made the long, difficult journey from Africa's interior -- but just barely. Out of the roughly 20 million who were taken from their homes and sold into slavery, half didn't complete the journey to the African coast, most of those dying along the way.

    And the worst was yet to come.

    The captives were about to embark on the infamous Middle Passage, so called because it was the middle leg of a three-part voyage -- a voyage that began and ended in Europe. The first leg of the voyage carried a cargo that often included iron, cloth, brandy, firearms, and gunpowder. Upon landing on Africa's "slave coast," the cargo was exchanged for Africans. Fully loaded with its human cargo, the ship set sail for the Americas, where the slaves were exchanged for sugar, tobacco, or some other product. The final leg brought the ship back to Europe.

    The African slave boarding the ship had no idea what lay ahead. Africans who had made the Middle Passage to the plantations of the New World did not return to their homeland to tell what happened to those people who suddenly disappeared."


    In the city where I'm located, efforts are being made to bring verified artifacts collected by a white husband/wife couple, purchased from people all over the U.S., that depict the real history of slavery in America. Through this collection, the couple have been able to pull together qualifiable facts that tell a very different story of a slave history that we were never taught in school.

    Actually looking at and handling the material sends a chill down your spine as you imagine what it must have been like to wear the stiff leather shoes, or bear the weight of iron chains and other tools designed specifically to torture or kill an African if they were guilty of running away.

    The harsh revelations brought on by this exhibit, to say the least, are meant to uncover the truth and bring the facts out in the open, for once and for all. No longer will the truth lay silent underneath years of lies and false information.

    What remains to be seen is the aftermath of this touring exhibit. The couple is travelling around the United States showing over 25,000 individual pieces of articles they have been successful in collecting, with another 40,000 currently being reviewed for verfication of authenticity by the Smithsonian Institute. Not surprisingly, this couple has received a number of death threats and been victims of physical and verbal abuse, by other whites who were exposed to their rare collection. They have been accused of being unpatriotic and not being intimidated or deterred from their personal mission, they were forced to hire body guards and guards for their special collection.

    To get a glimpse of their collection, visit www.middlepassagemuseum.org and witness the real American History. Tell us what you think.


    Queenie :spinstar:
     
  2. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The truth often hurts doesn't it? I've heard too many brutual stories of the "infamous" middle passage to recall: That our ancestors were literally packed in the bowels of slave ships like sardines in a can, lying in their own & each other's waste. That often fewer than 1/3 of the passengers made it to the Americas alive. That when slaves died they were thrown overboard, and this happened with such regularity, sharks would follow the ships. That slave women often were pregnant on these ships, and often died in childbirth. That slave women & men were separated, and the women suffered sexual abuse..etc. I was highly upset at the movie Amistad because it began with escaped slaves killing their enslavers, but did not show the conditions which caused them to do that. Thank you for posting this NN....I will track this exhibit down.
     
  3. uzoka

    uzoka Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The brief description of the ordeal of the African slave during The Middle Passage made my lip tremble and my eyes burn.

    This story needs to be told man, on screen, as in made for tv.

    This is the kind of information that should be communicated and brought to light to the black viewing public everywhere and with no holds barred, in all it's stomach wrenching horror, in order to remind us just what a lack of black unity amounts to.

    I am referring to African chiefs [resisting the urge to add a few abusive adjectives] and their part in the slave trade that began with the Arabs in the interests of their own private profit.
    The chiefs only later began to protest the slave trade when the ever devious Europeans took over and began to cut them out of the loop.

    And today, we are still doing the same exact thing, fighting each other, bearing grudges, stabbing each other in the back, forsaking our own in order that we be loved and accepted by others [tolerated more like], while our enemies continue to pound those final nails into our collective coffin.


    Dr. Chancellor Williams


    When will we learn, what will it take for us to learn, how do other groups of people remind themselves and each other of those aspects central to their culture , thinking and character and keep themselves on course?
     
  4. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Knowledge is powerful!

    For those that haven't yet, you might want to take the time to visit the web site at www.middlepassagemuseum.org and surf through the collection of slave artifacts and civil rights history in the United States.

    The owners of the collection, a white couple, toured Europe and found an entirely different history about slavery than what they were taught here in America. These discussions prompted them to come back to America and discover the truth. Relocating to the south, and going practically door to door, they found remnants of a time that wasn't reported in school textbooks. The artifacts tell a completely different story where words are seldom necessary.

    The slave-trade was a booming business that made Europeans people lots of money. The iron tools used to capture and torture Africans were manufactured in Europe and sold to Captains of slave ships and slave masters. One such instrument weighed 11 pounds and was an iron neck brace with 4, 12"-18" long prongs that extended upwards. This was strictly used for captured run-away slaves to prevent them from trying to run away again. If they did and moved too fast or the prongs were caught in bushes, the weight of the brace would snap their necks. Yes, people actually sat down and designed such a tortuerous instrument with a specific purpose in mind.

    If you want to witness evidence of the kinds of beads used to trade for an African human life, visit the website and search through the collection.

    Looking at the grave markers tell a very enlightening story about who we were as Africans. The following is an excerpt from that section of the collection:

    "According to various scholars, these markers contain Congolese religious symbols. The bursting sun, which is on Grave Marker one and two, represents the rejuvenation of life. On Marker 2, the box inside the bursting sun represents the birth of man or the sun rising from the east, the beginning of life. The second corner represents one's life on earth. The third corner represents the sun setting, or one's life is ending in death on earth. The fourth corner represents one's life in the afterworld, preparing to be reborn or the rejuvenation of life. The shiny appearance on markers one, two, and three is what is termed as a "salt glaze." The markers are from the Savannah, GA. area. The markers are dated circa mid 1800's."

    I frequently thought about what stories those pictures would tell, only if they could talk.

    Remember, this is only a part of our history. Learn all that you can about it because you never know what it might do to help you in the present and in the future!

    Peace,
    Queenie :spinstar:
     
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