The biggest component of African American Studies is learning about slavery, and how it has impacted the world today. Although slavery and the slave trade began within the 1600’s, the remnants of this awful aspect still remain. It is unfortunate that although slavery occurred some hundreds of years ago, the stigma still impacts many Africans and African Americans socially, economically, and culturally. I think today Africans and African Americans are struggling the most from racism. It is disheartening to even have to say that racism still exists, but it is the reality of our cruel world.
The second picture above is an example of what the Africans had to do on a daily basis, and the first picture is an example of what would happen to them if they did not obey their masters orders. It is simply disgusting how the Europeans treated their slaves, I do not know how the masters could even have the ability to whip them or even kill them. I think the mistreatment by the Europeans is what has caused the biggest problem among Africans and African Americans. No one wants to be treated in they way the Africans were treated, and no one should be treated in that way either. Imagine if the roles were reversed, and the Africans became the masters and the Europeans became the slaves and were mistreated in the same way. I cannot even imagine what the world would be like today, it would contain constant bitterness and hate. This is why I have the upmost respect for the Africans and African Americans, because although they did not agree with what was going on, they were still able to remain respectful in conjunction with their treatment and conditions.
According to Paul E. Lovejoy who wrote Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa, America contained the highest percentage (40.5 percent) of ships engaged in slave trade; roughly 2,468,000 captives. While containing the highest number of captives on the various ships, it comes with the unfortunate conditions the Africans had to live in on their journey to the United States. While reading through, An Account of the Slave Trade on the Coast of Africa by Alexander Falconbridge, he explained that the sole purpose of the “housing” for the Africans was so that they did not try to jump overboard while traveling to the states. Also, many of the enslaved Africans had been shackled together at the ankles, so that they could not try to escape, and due to the cramped conditions, many of them could not reach a bathroom and therefore had to sit/lay in their own filth. Below is an example of how the Africans were arranged on the ships. Needless to say, they were packed in their like sardines, and many of them did not survive the “middle passage” due to their living conditions resulting in serious diseases.
While I was learning how the Africans were treated by their masters and the “middle passage”, it reminded me of the interview in Black Athena with an African American lady. I remember her explaining how she had never really learned about her own history and culture, and she explained it in a way that made it seem like Africans maybe did not have an important history or culture. It is clear now, why some Africans felt like they do not have those aspects, because their ancestors were striped of them when they became slaves to the Europeans. On top of that, the slaves were traded and were brought to the states in order to bring economic development in areas of North America that did not have it. Who wants to be treated as monetary value? When you are treated in this way, you tend to believe you are nothing and not important, and this is sad because Africans have very important history, culture, and religion.
After going through this module, it brings me back to why the United States tends to think of Africa as a charity. I think that many Americans feel bad because of how the Africans were treated when they were slaves, and I think many people believe money can fix this problem. It clearly cannot, and if we think it can we are very wrong. Slavery is a big aspect of everyones history, and nothing can fix how things happened during those times. I think the world has come a long way since those days, but there is always things that could be better. In our aspect, I think we need to stop pushing Africans to learn the ‘American way’. They need to know that they are important too and what they did culturally and historically is just as important now as it was 100 years ago.