African Women under Slavery

Topics: Slavery, Atlantic slave trade, Slavery in the United States Pages: 9 (3096 words) Published: December 5, 2013


African Women under Slavery

This paper discusses the experiences of African American Women under slavery during the Slave Trade, their exploitation, the secrecy, the variety of tasks and positions of slave women, slave and ex-slave narratives. Also, this paper presents the hardships African American women faced and the challenges they overcame to become equal with men in today’s society. Slavery was a destructive experience for African Americans especially women. Black women suffered doubly during the slave era. Slave Trade

The West African Slave Trade was a global event that focused on West Africa. It was the sale and ownership of another human being that was put into slavery. It was a type of “forced Migration” that lasted 300 years. From around 1551 thru 1850 about 15 million people were brought into the slave trade it is said that roughly 5 million people did not survive, and may have immediately died before making through the shock of enslavement. About 10 million people in the western hemisphere survived and were sold on the auction block. Generations continued into slavery, the offspring was also brought into slavery. The owners liked the idea of their slaves reproducing. This meant their work force would grow without having to spend much money on slaves. About 250 million lived in slavery throughout the 300 years. Slavery was also a traditional part of African society, various states and kingdoms in Africa operated one or more of the following: chattel slavery, debt bondage, forced labor, and serfdom. Ghana, Mali, Songhai were kingdoms that had large economies and supported large populations, they had knowledge of agriculture, and grew many different crops that sustained many people. Because of the West African Slave Trade, These kingdoms were affected by greed and would often go to war and capture prisoners to sell into slavery. The Middle Passage was the journey of slave trading ships from the west coast of Africa, where the slaves were obtained, across the Atlantic, where they were sold or, in some cases, traded for goods such as molasses, which was used in the making of rum. However, this voyage has come to be remembered for much more than simply the transport and sale of slaves. The Middle Passage was the longest, hardest, most dangerous, and also most horrific part of the journey of the slave ships. With extremely tightly packed loads of human cargo that stank and carried both infectious disease and death, the ships would travel east to west across the Atlantic on a miserable voyage lasting at least five weeks, and sometimes as long as three months. Although incredibly profitable for both its participants and their investing backers, the terrible Middle Passage has come to represent the ultimate in human misery and suffering. The abominable and inhuman conditions which the Africans were faced with on their voyage clearly display the great evil of the slave trade. While there was slavery throughout World History, never has it reached such an epic proportion as during the Middle Passage/ transatlantic slave trade. At this time, no one knows exactly how many Africans died at sea during the Middle Passage experience. Estimates for the total number of Africans lost to the slave trade range from 25 to 50 million. The Middle Passage was a term used to describe the triangular route of trade that brought Africans to the Americas and rum and sugar cane to Europe. It was synonymous with pain and suffering. The journey from Africa to the Americas would take as many as 30 to 90 days. Many of the ships were called “loose packers” which meant that the slaves were not overlapping each other or “tight packers”, describing the capacity of the slave ship. The smell of rotten bodies thrown overboard lured sharks to the ships route; European countries participating in the slave trade accumulated tremendous wealth and global power from the capturing and selling of Africans into...

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