The Middle Passage
The terrifying voyage from Africa to the Americas claimed the lives of
millions of Africans. To maximize profit, traders packed their human cargo
tightly onto wooden slabs. Disease was rampant in the filthy “slave
hold,” where vomit, excrement, and corpses were infrequently removed.
Those who survived these hellish conditions endured physical and mental
abuse. Many Africans preferred death to bondage, and starved themselves
or jumped overboard. Those who failed at suicide received severe punishment.
This engraving from daguerreotype shows slaves on board
the deck of the ship Wildfire.
Gift of Gail ’56 and Stephen Rudin.
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