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Essay on A History of the Slave Trade

“I am the son of a white man and a black slave, born in Tukahoe, Maryland, on February 7th, 1711. I never knew his father and was separated from my mother at the age of 8. I can still remember the nights of unrest; she would put me to sleep with grim stories of her father and the journey they took across the Atlantic. On other nights she would raise my spirits with tales of hope and how life wouldn’t always be like this. I could tell there was a burning desire in her that was screaming, “Why does my family suffer like this. Why must my people endure this torture.”

I lived with his grandmother on a plantation until the age of eleven, when I was sent to a rich white man in Baltimore.

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It was to my fortune that the wife of my owner defied state law by teaching me to read. My possessor was also considerate enough to teach me many other skills that would be very useful later in my life like agricultural techniques and work with carving and repairing various wooden items.

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When my master died in 1737 I was sent to his Newport, Rhode Island to process wood. My new master was very generous to me and kept me in good health and took time each day to preach the important values of the Bible to me.

After some years, I gained enough expertise and Master promoted me to be his assistant. It was an exciting job, I would carve out and assemble several parts of a ship not only for the food that I would not get without my work but engaged I even engaged in conversations with my master about our opinions of the world.

He explained to me the current situation the colonies were in and how we were helping the grand scheme of things. He called it our place in the slave trade.

As the years went by, our relationship slowly but surely became more and more informal. One night he decided to share an underground history book explaining the history of the colonies and the slave trade. It read:

“Ever since the early seventeenth century when the English began to colonize the Americas, there was a demand for cheap labour to fuel the soon-to-be booming economy and trade of the New World. When the English realized the opportunity to exploit the vast land and resources, just as the Portuguese and Spanish before them, they too turned to slavery.

But why were the slaves primarily Africans and not Native American Indians? Although both races were considered inferior to the English, Indian relations were already hard to keep up and enslaving an important tribesman could prove disastrous to the week bond between them and the colonists.

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Moreover, the Indians were unfamiliar with some animal and harvesting techniques while a number of Africans had experience with raising their own domestic cattle. It was also thought that Africans had many skills and were sometimes considered “Jacks-of-all-Trades”.

For example, a slave would be able to work in a textile mill be able to make his master happy by doing woodwork if he desired to. The most important reason for African slavery may perhaps be the English prejudice. They considered the Africans to be not only inferior to themselves but because of their dark coloration, they consider black to be evil or bad colour, while white signified purity.

Capturing and trading slaves was not only extremely profitable but both simple and dangerous. On the one hand, it was easy to acquire the salves. Many of them were brought by inland chiefs who raided enemy villages and carried off the victims. But on the other hand, the middle passage or the voyage from Guinea to the New world held many dangers such as mutiny against the captains, and the force of the elements in the open sea.

In the late seventeenth century there was an extreme growth in slavery in the Colonies. Tobacco was introduced to the Tidewater region as large-scale rice planting was started in South Carolina. With a huge increase in slavery, the trade became very profitable and many men got rich from buying and selling their human cargo.

In the North, since there were little plantations to take care of, there was no need for a large number of slaves. However, by the 18th century, there were 1,000 slaves and 90,000 colonists. Contrary to their small number, the Northern slaves played a great role in the slave trade. They were able to perform a wide variety of tasks such as fishermen, farmworkers, woodworkers, carpenters, ironworkers, coopers, and rope workers.”

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This truly opened my eyes; they were bloodshot with anger. But I knew change was coming soon and I just couldn’t wait.

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Essay on A History of the Slave Trade. (2021, Feb 14). Retrieved February 7, 2023, from