Essay submitted by Maley Thompson
The Middle Passage was almost inconceivable. Hundreds upon hundreds of Africans
The conditions on the boats were hellish. The slaves on the ships were packed like
hopeless, low, brutal, and wretched. The temperature in the disease- infested rooms
Falconbridge, a surgeon aboard these slave ships, recalled that the “hot floor was
covered with blood and mucus. It was like a slaughter-house.” The sickening stench
said, “sleep was the only [temporary] refuge.” The dejection and despair of the
circumstances caused many people to bitterly cry, shriek, and groan in inconceivable
horror and fear. The savage cruelty of the slave traders and boat crew was terrifying.
absolute hellish existence for the abandoned Africans aboard them. Although
describable, the anguish of these people cannot be fully understood.
The African’s, due to these excruciating conditions, were completely and utterly
terrified. During the slave trades, the noise and clamor was so frightening that many
jump overboard. Attempted suicide usually just increased the despair of the situation.
did not eat, they were flogged until they ate the disgusting food.
The slave traders expressed brutal cruelty to the slaves aboard the ships. They treated
the Negros as if they were imported typical goods. They spent the least amount of
effort and money in making the conditions aboard the boats tolerable in order to ensure
a higher profitable outcome. Occasionally the crew would have intercourse with some
made sure that the Africans would not know the location of their destination. They
made all of the Negros stay below deck. To them, the slaves were just typical cargo
that was a little bit more difficult to handle.
The Africans felt complete shock and isolation at the harsh brutality of their slave
traders. They were utterly paralyzed at what was going on around them. They had no
control and were therefore completely terrified. They felt hopeless and despaired. They
felt extremely isolated and abandoned. The thoughts always led to back home, when
that was used to haul this “cargo” to America, was taken over through mutiny by the
Africans on board. However, most Negros on the ships were too terrified and shocked
better than the pestilential conditions aboard these ships of the Middle Passage. There
were bitter cries at the unknown future; some thought that they would be used as
food for the cannibals aboard the New World. However, in order to inspire hope, the
slave traders let slaves from land come aboard and tell the Negros that they would be
able to work and would see their country’s people. The selling of slaves was absolutely
miserable. There was clamor and noise that was utterly terrifying. Families were broken
up and Africans were crying.
It is impossible to imagine these experiences and conditions accurately. Without being
there, one cannot truly empathize with the “cargo” aboard the ships in the Middle
Passage. The hellish existence of these passengers is inconceivable. Since that time
there have been few incidents as horrible, brutal, and full of despair.