TheInhuman Treatment of African Slaves
OlaudahEquiano was an African slave who eventually purchased his freedomafter going through turmoil and a hard-fought struggle with slavery.Olaudah later published his autobiography that covers his otherwiseexceptional education together with his traumatic experience with theAfrican slavery system. Anna Maria, on the other hand, was among thefirst European women to document her experience in Africa while onthe voyage in Africa to River Sierra Leone. She presents some of thepositive comments about the African slavery system while being quickto note that they could only depict the masters’ interest in theirtarget ‘goods.’ The two documents offer first-hand documentationof the slavery system in a manner that creates a clear andconstructive understanding of the scheme. Despite the fact that someof the slaves received particular and good care and experience, mostof them suffered from the ruthless and inhuman treatment of thegreedy traders and masters as below.
TheAfrican slaves suffered one of the most inhumane and unfairconditions during the slavery period. Olaudah Equiano presents hisstory of capture by two men and a woman where they tied their mouthsbefore bundling them into a sack. He describes how they lost theirfreedom into the hands of people they had neither seen or heard thembefore. To their shock and disgrace, they ended up parting ways onlyto meet again months later. Despite the fact that they found akind-hearted master, Olaudah describes the horrific story where histeachers sold him to white ‘scary’ men who hinted that they wouldkill him. On the other hand, Anna Maria asserts that the kind andfair treatment of slaves who were onboard was just but a matter ofselfishness and self-interest by the perpetrators of slavery. Shesays that before her real experience of the slave trade, she had anentirely different approach towards the system, not before being partof the voyage that traveled across the ocean together with Africanslaves. However, she hints that the changed perspective could onlyreflect the traders’ interest to get the highest profits from thesale of the slaves.
BlackAfrican slaves had to endure fatal and rather horrific conditions inthe quest to get a chance of serving selfish and cruel masters.Olaudah describes a nearly touching experience where he almost losthis life while on the voyage. Olaudah “fell motionless on the deckand fainted.” (Equiano, 93). The white men bundled them under adeck that lacked not only ventilations but also held too many slavesthat one could hardly have space to turn his or her back. Theventilation was so poor that most of the slaves fell victim ofimprovident avarice of the traders. The dealers could hardly give theslaves room to rise the deck until one became sick and needed urgentattention. In fact, the condition was so extreme that many of theslaves died while on board. In fact, some of the already sick slavespreferred diving into the sea to perish than remaining in the handsof the vicious monsters who did not care about the welfare of theslaves. While agreeing that the treatment of the slaves on board wasnot bad, Anna says that “I wish freedom to every creature formed byGod.” (Anna Maria Falconbridge, 87). The sentiments not onlyreflect the torture that slaves went through but also calls for criesof humanity to all those who live in bondage and are unable toexpress their feelings and realize their dreams.
Thetwo documents depict a real experience of the African slavery systemthat drained some of Africa’s most able and strongest men to thehands of European and other wealthy African masters. Anna’s pieceaids in getting some of the positive experiences of slaves whilehinting that they could have been transpiring for the little benefitand self-interest of the traders. Olaudah’s piece sheds enoughlight on a rotten system that was not only callous and barbaric butalso severe. Africans received harsh treatments and experiences thatresulted in the deaths of millions of innocent souls.
AnnaMaria Falconbridge. Narrativeof Two Voyages to the River Sierra Leone during the Years1791-1792-1793.Liverpool Historical Studies
Equiano,Olaudah. TheInteresting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or GustavusVassa, the African.New York: Norton, 2001. Print.