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How would you feel as an African who had been captured to be sold as a slave? Imagine...

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qu950827 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted March 3, 2013 at 5:50 PM via web

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How would you feel as an African who had been captured to be sold as a slave?

Imagine that you have been captured by surprise by a neighboring West African tribe. You have been sold to white men who are leading you and your family toward big ships. You have heard about the slave trade and the Transatlantic crossing, but you never thought it would happen to you.

Tell what happened when you were captured by a neighboring tribe. How did you feel being betrayed by people so much like yourself? How do you feel toward the men who put you in shackles? How are they treating you? What do you expect? What do you fear? Do you have the will to survive?

 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 3, 2013 at 6:10 PM (Answer #1)

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Much of this assignment is asking for your own personal attitudes.  Put yourself in the mind of a person who has just been kidnapped.  It is unlikely in the extreme that you have ever heard of what the voyage is like or what awaits you on the other side of the ocean.  This is because no slaves came back to tell their stories.  You might have heard third-hand tales about what happens, but you will not know.  So, you have to write much of this based on your own personality.  Do you think you are the kind who would hate the men putting you in shackles?  Would you forgive them?  How afraid are you of the unknown?  How strong is your own will to survive? 

There are some ways in which academic knowledge can help you here, though.  First, it is important to understand that most Africans would probably not have felt they were being betrayed by people like themselves.  They did not have a sense that they were all Africans any more than the French and Germans (who were, after all, neighboring peoples) had a sense that they were all Europeans in times past such as the time of the two world wars.  They would have felt that they had been defeated in a war or captured in a raid by people who were their enemies. 

As to how the slave traders would have treated you, you should consider what their incentives are.  They want to keep you alive and somewhat healthy.  If not, they will not get a good price for you.  However, they want to spend the minimum possible on doing this.  So they are going to be sort of torn in two directions.  They are going to want to treat you somewhat well, but not to waste any unnecessary money on you.

With these things in mind, try to put yourself in this situation, thinking of your own personality and attitudes.

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