Slave Coffle in Western Sudan
Here one can only observe and weep at the inhumanity of slavery as this coffle of men moves forward in drudgery chained to each other in what looks like oppressive heat and anguish. The facial expressions of the men are full of sadness and suffering demonstrating the monstrosity and utter inhumanity of the slave trade. Naturally enough this picture continued to reinforce my personal impression of the slave trade as something abhorrent and totally inhumane. The fact that men are chained to each other continues to emphasize the bestiality of it all. The picture is powerful in its demonstration of detail and is also fascinatingly realistic in several ways from the detail shown in the landscape to the tattered clothing of the men.
Elmina Castle, Ghana
This beautiful painting comes under the heading Forts and Trading Posts in Africa and demonstrates the sheer scale of the trade in those days. It was an important trading outpost where thousands of slaves came and went with several dying on the way in inhumane and terrible conditions. The vast number of boats in the foreground shows the smaller craft used to bring the captured slaves from the various waterways and rivers across Africa while the bustle of activity on the shore also demonstrates the kind of business in human flesh which went on every day. Although it is a modern picture, it shows the sinister side to slave trading in a different way, something which is now silent but still very much in the hearts and minds of many.
Enslaved Africans being loaded onto hold of slave ship
Again, this is another suggestive painting showing some fine African men being led below deck to begin their terrible passage into the unknown. The two men in the back of the picture are so tightly shackled together that they actually are leaning on each other in a show of mutual support while the presumed captain of the ship stands in a fearsome pose observing everything as the other slave who is in the foreground meekly makes his way below. It is a powerful sketch showing the inhumanity of slavery and makes one think on the perils of the slave voyage where thousands perished without mercy.
Slave Market in West Africa, 1840
This suggestive picture again shows the sheer inhumanity of the slave trade as some European would be purchasers of chattel examine men and women who appear to be sick after some long journey. Several white persons look onto the scene with almost untroubled indifference as a naked baby lies in the foreground. It is indeed a powerful picture showing man’s inhumanity to man and continues to reinforce the barbarity of slavery. In the background one can also see some slaves tied to a whipping post as one man is applying the lash with unseemly vigour. The slave ship in the background of the picture also shows some ominous details of what is about to come for the poor Africans who are eventually chosen.
The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: Slave Market in West Africa, 1840; Retrieved from: http://hitchcock.itc.virginia.edu/Slavery/details.php?categorynum=6&categoryName=Slave%20Sales%20and%20Auctions:%20African%20Coast%20and%20the%20Americas&theRecord=9&recordCount=75
The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: Slave Coffle, western Sudan, 1879-80; Retrieved from: http://hitchcock.itc.virginia.edu/Slavery/details.php?categorynum=3&categoryName=Capture%20of%20Slaves%20and%26%2365533%3B%26%2365533%3B%20Coffles%20in%20Africa&theRecord=0&recordCount=43
The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: Elmina Castle, Ghana 1990’s; Retrieved from: http://hitchcock.itc.virginia.edu/Slavery/details.php?categorynum=4&categoryName=European%20Forts%20and%20Trading%20Posts%20in%20Africa&theRecord=20&recordCount=56
The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: Enslaved Africans being loaded onto hold of slave ship; Retrieved from: http://hitchcock.itc.virginia.edu/Slavery/details.php?categorynum=5&categoryName=Slave%20Ships%20and%20the%20Atlantic%20Crossing%20(Middle%20Passage)&theRecord=17&recordCount=78