Main ideas of the exhibit
United nations international in their article “ lest we forget” has placed iconic images representing defenseless victims, their helpless nature, victims who have lived in cruel situations, slave castles, and ships to demonstrate the conditions experienced by slaves. The pictures demonstrate bound captives with long marches as they toil endlessly on cotton, sugar, and tobacco plantations.
The images express that slaves were trodden down, degraded and whose culture and humanity was denied and stripped off. They were forced to live without using their minds, having no agendas, and bearing vicious cycles of powerful human degradation. The pictures show the brutal nature of slave trade, its horrific state, exploitative and dehumanizing. It was full of oppressiveness and assaults which denied them self-worth and dignity. Slavery records worst treatment of human kind in history.
Slavery was prominent over 400, years ago which forced Africans to migrate from their original ancestral lands affecting over 12 million people. slavery acts covered Africa to Western hemisphere. It disabled millions of societies in Africa. The system of slave trade was well established in America and majored in getting slaves from Africa from sixteenth to nineteenth century. Enslaved Africans, abolitionists, free blacks who sought to appeal the senses and moral awareness of normal ordinary citizens, created the iconic pictures. In addition, they aimed at ending slavery through sensitization of churches, principles of power, anti-slavery movements, and governments through their dehumanizing and brutal pictures. Even though they reduced slavery, the pictures remain in our minds after the mention of slavery thus making Africans more embarrassed than proud of slavery heritage.
Slavery initiated oppressive relationships between African coward victims and ship captains transporting the slaves to America. Brutal acts occurred daily with masters dehumanizing their slaves. However, slave trade benefited Europe and America since it developed their nations. Africa was underdeveloped at the time since most human labor was taken by other countries.
Compare African slavery and slavery in the Americans
Slavery in America and Africa had similar characteristics.
Slavery was common in America and African communities. Their masters disciplined them through whipping them and overworking them on their lands. In both communities, there were no times to air their grievances or rights but were required to follow set rules and regulations.
There was a decline in health and mortality where both groups suffered miserable and fatal health conditions. They suffered from blindness, bowed legs, convulsions, and abdominal swellings. Due to poor diets, they acquired beriberi, pellagra, rickets, and kwashiorkor among other diseases.
Female slaves did agricultural work, spinned cotton, traded goods, and dyed clothes. They also prepared foods, washed clothes and cleaned houses.
Men slaves herded animals and farmed lands. Men from wealthy families became porters, constructed buildings, metalwork, and weaving. Powerful men were given women as their wives. Men worked in quarries and in mines.
Slaves got profits from their labor through food supplies and shelter although they were forced to work from sunrise to sunset.
American and African slaves were allowed to have children who could later become slaves of their masters.
Infant mortality rates and child mortality were high among slaves since they were not given time to rest before childbirth or anytime of their pregnancy period. Their newborns were chronically undernourished which contributed to most deaths in their first years. In Africa and America, death rates were extremely high with low birth rates.
In both communities, slaves were used to accumulate wealth for their masters and assist them in their farms and household chores. Slaves were collections of people who were on punishments for their crimes and breaking religious laws.
United Nations international. (2004). Slave labor and slave systems. Lest we forget. Retrieved from http://digital.nypl.org/lwf/english/site/flash.html