Slave Ship Essay

Words: 1374
Pages: 6

The Slave Ship by Marcus Rediker is a great fiction novel that describes the horrifying experiences of Africans, seamen, and captains on their journey through the Middle Passage. The Middle Passage marked the water way in the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and the Americas. The use of slaves provided a great economy for the European countries due to the fact that these African slaves provided free labor while cultivating sugar cane in the Caribbean and America. Rediker describes the slave migration by saying, “There exists no account of the mechanism for history’s greatest forced migration, which was in many ways the key to an entire phase of globalization” (10). This tells us that African enslavement to the Americas causes a complete …show more content…
The fear that the seamen were cannibals was very common on the slave ships. Fear was enriched into the thoughts of these slaves because they had no idea where they were going and what was to become of them. They also did not know what to expect from the captain along with his crew. The fear of being eaten by them and abused led them to wanting death. Communication was also a key to the slaves. Many of the slaves came from different tribes, so it was hard to communicate with each other since they had different languages. When they finally became a sort of “new tribe” on the slave ship, they reached the end of their journey and lost the bonds that they made when being sold off. The Middle Passage was not only harsh for the slaves, but for the ship’s crew, as well. James Field Stanfield was a seaman who participated in the slave trade. Like many of the crew, Stanfield occasionally boarded ships to work for cruel captains. Some captains punished his crew as often as they did the slaves. Stanfield accounts that even at one point he had to take over for the doctor and dress wounds from the lashes on slaves and even the crew. He describes the journey through the Middle Passage as horrific. He describes the working environment by saying “seamen were also forced to work when sick, sometimes with fatal consequences” (148). Stanfield is a living proof of the harsh conditions watching his