Middle Passage

October 4, 2012
By mcohen GOLD, Fair Lawn, New Jersey
mcohen GOLD, Fair Lawn, New Jersey
10 articles 0 photos 0 comments

The ship gleamed in the sun, the sails swayed in the wind and the crew cheered and clanged their glasses together in glory as they sailed the ocean blue. The crew had rather good amenities, and were very eager to start the voyage, however just because they had better amenities,supplies, and space than the slaves, did not guarantee them a safe and happy trip. The conditions of the middle passage were not only harsh for the slaves but also for the crew. Many crew members got sick and died; although not nearly close to the amount of slaves who suffered of illness and diseases; the number was still influential. Underneath the deck, where all the slaves lived was a completely different surrounding. Chained onto wood and stacked ontop of eachother leaving nearly three inches of space apart - face to face; was where the slaves lived throughout the middle passage. In the darkness, lay the slaves screaming and moaning in pain, rubbing their bodies against the bare wood; opening scabs while creating new ones. The unbearable stench of sweat, puke, and rotten bodies fill the air, the stench was so terrible that you can smell a slave ship from 7 miles away.
Trying to overlook the fact that my head was badly throbbing from all the scabs that opened again, due to the bare wood that dug into my scalp, I looked over my shoulder to my side to see how my “neighbor” was doing after his whipping yesterday after his refusal to eat. My mouth was dry and it was very hard to speak but I gathered up the energy to say a word or two, “Aryo ok?” I mumbled to him but there was no reply. I squinted my eyes, for it was very dark, and tried to make out what I can of him. From what I made out He just kept Shaking his head and rubbing his body against the wood, moaning as he twists and turns rattling the chains as he moved. My nose itched from the horrible stench that reeked from the dead body that lay on the other side of me, and my ears were pierced from all the screams and groans coming from other people. I wanted to die, I was actually jealous of the dead rotten bodies, but all I could do is pray to Allah because jumping of the ship is not an option with the crew watching our every moves when we go up on the deck to exercise or get water thrown on us. Suddenly the door above us opened, allowing a ray of light to fill the dark mucky room and fresh air to breath with. Although I was thrilled at the new air and breeze that filled the room, the light burned my eyes to a level I cannot comprehend and gave me a headache in which I thought my head would explode. The crew piled into the room and began to pull on my chains causing me topple over on the ground from the third level with a loud thud. The crew pulled me and many others upstairs, whipping and yelling at us as we attempt to climb the ladder. When we finally arrive on the deck the crew begin to splash us with freezing fire water that burns our skin. The air now fills with twice the cries and screams as before as we try and run away from the fire water and realize that we are surrounded by water and that the earth is gone.

The author's comments:
Journal + Description of the sufferings from the middle passage

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