Really, what can one say about slavery? It has existed since the
beginning of recorded history and the United States can claim no
innocence from it. A set of colonies that would become the United
States accepted the practice fairly early and continued it for
something like 250 years.
The American brand of slavery (also known as Dutch-American slavery)
differed from other forms of slavery in certain subtle respects, but a
complete comparison of the various forms of "ancient" and "modern"
slavery are well beyond this writing.
Nearly empty ships would make the first leg of their voyage from
England towards the African coast. There the crew would
load their cargo of human beings, purchased and otherwise acquired in
a variety of ways. They would be chained below decks, laid side by
side, row upon row upon row. In the end, the cargo would hold as many
The slave ships then began the dreaded middle passage across
the Atlantic. Many of the Africans below would die as they starved or
succumbed to various wounds and disease. Routinely, at least a third
of the inhabitants would die. If a communicable disease began
to spread among the slaves-to-be, those infected would be thrown
overboard to face the relative mercy of the ocean.
Arriving in the New World, the survivors were traded for sugar,
molasses and other supplies, which were then carried to England,
where the cycle would repeat. The survivors found themselves spread
across the New World, forced into slavery. They were immigrants
without a choice; citizens with nothing but their hoarded dignity;
taxed without representation; slaves.
Yet, they were always survivors. Wherever they ended up, they
multiplied, revolted, created thriving cultures, advanced and
revolutized. They survived. And their descendants are still here,
surviving... and thriving. We are they.