Most owners would do whatever they wanted to their slaves, causing the slaves to rebel and runaway. Filled with fear, endless hours of labor, ill-treatment, cruelty, and unfairness this cycle never really ended for a slave. Slaves were used as property, whose labor would only benefit their master’s profit. Instead, of houses and rest hours a slave’s day consisted of their work, then their own personal chores,and finally sleep. A slave’s life consisted of the unfair treatments from owners.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is an enticing tale of Douglas as he changes from slave to man. Near the beginning of the book, his first witness of a whipping reveals the entrance to the horrors that would come throughout his experience with enslavement. “No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim…” (4) it displays the physical, emotional, and spiritual breaking of an individual; powerful words to create an understanding of the terror of slavery. Beating into absolute submission strikes a sense of sadness, pity, justice in the reader that encourages them to see slavery in a different light. Throughout his narrative he continues to attack these points to encourage similar feelings of pity and acknowledgement “to enlighten white readers about both the realities of slavery as an institution and the humanity of black people as individuals deserving of full human rights.”.
By using this reference, it illustrated the severity of the alienation of blacks in the Southern United States. In 1619, a Dutch ship “introduced the first captured Africans to America, planting the seeds of a slavery system that evolved into a nightmare of abuse and cruelty that would ultimately divide the nation”. The Africans were not treated humanely, but were treated as workers with no rights. Originally, they were to work for poor white families for seven years and receive land and freedom in return. As the colonies prospered, the colonists did not want to give up their workers and in 1641, slavery was legalized.
This new form of slave trade caused the Atlantic slave trade to occur and it threatened many Africans from being stripped away from their homes. It is estimated that they bought 18 million people as slaves and transported them from Africa to other countries. The Atlantic Slave Trade was a reason for the decline of Africa. On the other hand while Egypt also had lower classes it didn 't matter. No matter what social class Egyptians were in they still appreciated life the same. Africa experienced many advancements and failures from its empires and civilizations throughout history. Egypt is now one of the most famous, oldest, and longest great civilizations from Ancient Africa.
Equiano described the horrors of a slave ship based on his firsthand experience. He describes what it was like to be thrown onto a ship, the indescribable smell of being crammed on the deck with so many other slaves, and the floggings he and the other slaves received for not eating. The slaves were so tightly packed together the air was dangerous to breath, and many of the slaves became sick and died from it, while others suffocated to death. Men were pushed to the brink of starvation, tried to steal food, and were severely flogged for it. Others tried to jump overboard and drown rather than accept their life of misery.
The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass shows the imbalance of power between slaves and their masters. In his book, Douglass proves that slavery is a destructive force not only to the slaves, but also for the slaveholders. “Poison of the irresponsible power” that masters have upon their slaves that are dehumanizing and shameless, have changed the masters themselves and their morality(Douglass 39). This amount of power and control in contact with one man breaks the kindest heart and the purest thoughts turning the person evil and corrupt. Douglass uses flashbacks that illustrate the emotions that declare the negative effects of slavery.
Frederick Douglass’s narrative provides a first hand experience into the imbalance of power between a slave and a slaveholder and the negative effects it has on them both. Douglass proves that slavery destroys not only the slave, but the slaveholder as well by saying that this “poison of irresponsible power” has a dehumanizing effect on the slaveholder’s morals and beliefs (Douglass 40). This intense amount of power breaks the kindest heart and changes the slaveholder into a heartless demon (Douglass 40). Yet these are not the only ways that Douglass proves what ill effect slavery has on the slaveholder. Douglass also uses deep characterization, emotional appeal, and religion to present the negative effects of slavery.
The mental health of the slaves, which was so evidently tarnished, was completely disregarded by these people. Riggs’ detail of each slave’s face shows the anguish and torture that each one is going through. The reader could also imagine this through the imagery that is displayed throughout Equiano’s narrative. One example of this is when Equiano described the lower deck of the second ship he was on. He stated that “the shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying, rendered the whole scene of horror almost inconceivable” (697).
“Yes, sir, he gives me enough, such as it is.” The colonel, after ascertaining where the slave belonged, rode on; the man also went on about his business, not dreaming that he had been conversing with his master. He thought, said, and heard nothing more of the matter, until two or three weeks afterwards. The poor man was then informed by his overseer that, for having found fault with his master, he was now to be sold to a Georgia trader. He was immediately chained and handcuffed; and thus, without a moment’s warning, he was snatched away, and forever sundered, from his family and friends, by a hand more unrelenting than death.”
The Trans-Atlantic slave trade impacted and changed the world by misplacing and separating thousands of individuals from their families and homes. Thousands of people lost their lives when they were abducted and forced into slavery. Many did not survive the ship rides to the Americas. Many were murdered and tortured. Some were thrown of boats and died from diseases caught on the ship. Nonetheless, the Trans-Atlantic trade brought African culture to the Americas and the Caribbean.
Did you know that the average cost of a slave in America about 1850s was about $400, which as of today it would be about $12,000 ? “Slaves” come from the slavonic population in Eastern Europe, which they were also enslaved in the Middle Ages. A slave is defined when (slave)owners basically just take control of others and force them to obey their commands. When i was reading the Equiano, I noticed that him and his sister had got captured when they were little children and were brought on the ship where they were then labeled as slaves. They had no way to escape, they were trapped, there was no other way to get back to their hometown so they basically had nothing else to do but work for the slave masters.
This was the corruption of the white men of that time who were afraid of the truth surfacing and everyone finding out the truth about slavery. Equiano was able to share a little detail about how slaves were treated by saying that “[he] was first transported to Barbados and then Virginia, where he was purchased by a local planter,” (512). This action shows the reader that the slaves were treated as a form of property that was sold for labor. Equiano was never given the chance to gain the same freedom as a white man, he had to work for money. He goes on to say "I was now exceedingly miserable, and thought myself worse off than any of the rest of my companions ...
These actions truly display how during this time period if you were not in control those that held more power than you would exploit you in any way possible. This excerpt truly displays the evil greed of humans. Although this excerpt does a good job at describing the process it does not give the viewpoint or feelings of the slaves. Olaudah Equiano’s account of the Atlantic crossing gives a good insight into the confusion and horrors faced by the slaves. In his excerpt he describes his complete confusion and fear revolving around what is going to happen to him.
In the documents “Considering the Evidence: Voices from the Slave Trade” it shows how the Atlantic slave trade was an enormous enterprise and enormously significant in modern world history. In document 15.1 - The Journey to Slavery it talks about the voice of an individual victim of the slave trade known as Olaudah Equiano. Equiano was taken from his home and sold into the slave trade. He worked for three different families while in the slave trade but what is different about him is that he learned to read and write while being a slave. He traveled extensively as a seaman aboard one of his masters' ships, and was allowed to buy his freedom in 1766.