A new African-American culture began to develop when the Africans came to America,
the culture of the slave. All aspects of life for these imported people immediately once they were
deported from their homeland.
Slavery was well known in many areas of Africa, including eastern Nigeria, the
Gold Coast, and western Angola during the 1600s. About ten million African slaves were
kidnapped from these and other areas. The kidnapped were forced to march to the Atlantic Coast,
which, at times, was over one hundred miles. Those who were too weak to keep up were
murdered. Once to the coast, the slaves were kept in dungeon-like
pits until they could be packed on the slave ships. Sometimes they had to spend months chained
up in these confinements).
The voyage from Africa to the Americas across the Middle Passage was
horrid and had to be endured for months at a time. The intense pressure to obtain the
greatest profit out of the trade, no matter what cost to the slave, forced traders to treat the slaves
inhumanly. Slaves were wedged together on the lower decks of ships like logs. There was
almost no room to sit, stand, or lie down. The space given to an adult male was no larger than a
grave. The slaves often slept on their sides and their naked bodies were positioned together in a
spoon-like fashion. They were allowed on the deck for a few minutes a day for fresh air and
exercise. The holds were dark, filthy, slimy, and filled with the stench of human waste. The
food quickly spoiled and the water became stagnant. Slaves who felt sick were simply tossed
overboard to prevent an epidemic.
Once on American soil, slaves were herded to a stockade to be sold. They were
thoroughly examined by eager merchants and purchased. During these slave auctions,
families were torn apart. Mothers were separated from children and husbands were taken from
their wives. The auctions were so unpleasant that...