When one seeks to evaluate the contemporary state of persons of African descent in the America’s, it is critical that such an evaluation begins with some knowledge of the still reverberating injury flowing from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. It was during the “Middle Passage” that the extreme brutality that stolen Africans were subjected to would reach one crescendo.
Although many seek to partially blame the African for his confinement and exploitation, one must remember that Africans who did participate in the hunting down, capturing, and transport of fellow Africans to the “New World” were in every way coerced into doing such. Put simply, they were charged by arriving Europeans from a host of countries to with the charge of traveling into the interior and capturing Africans or they and their loved one’s would experience the hellishness that was the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
There are several things about the African that allowed for the relatively few Europeans to come into their midst and wreak havoc. Most notably of these factors was the lack of Nationalism amongst Africans. Africans tended to not consider themselves as one people, rather, they were divided by religion, history, custom, and circumstance. It was this opening that best explains the lack of unity against arriving Europeans amongst Africans who were desirous of European trinkets and goods.
Historical accounts such as that of Olaudah Equiano offer insight into the process that led to stolen Africans being placed on a ship bound for one of three locations: the Caribbean, South America, or North America. There is a great saying that says that a picture is worth a thousand words, well if such is true, the following link that focuses upon the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade is worth a billion.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III