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Slavery at SeaTerror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage$
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Sowande' M. Mustakeem

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040559

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040559.001.0001

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Blood Memories

Blood Memories

Chapter:
(p.76) 4 Blood Memories
Source:
Slavery at Sea
Author(s):

Sowande' M. Mustakeem

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252040559.003.0005

This chapter examines the violent legacies that emerged in the Middle Passage by documenting open battles and the counter-resistive measures that sailors used against bondpeople. Focusing on the violent interiority of slavery at sea, it reveals the psychological torment, spillage of blood, and multitude of deaths that occurred as sailors forcibly transported bondpeople out of coastal West Africa into distant corners of the Atlantic. It shows that drastically hostile ship behaviors manifested not only through physical combat but also through poisoning, sexual terror, abortion, and the murders of enslaved infants. Due to the constant threat of warfare and bloodshed internal within slave ships, the Middle Passage resembled something like a war zone with “mobile battlefields.” Bondpeople regularly resorted to violence as a means to obtain their freedom.

Keywords:   sailors, bondpeople, maritime slavery, poisoning, sexual terror, warfare, bloodshed, slave ships, Middle Passage, violence

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