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Barracoon - A Slave Shed

Barracoon - A Slave Shed Slaves and Slave Owners American History African American History Social Studies Tragedies and Triumphs Visual Arts

Slavers placed kidnapped Africans in sheds known as barracoons.  People in a barracoon endured much more than being wrested from their homes.  Painful devices, limiting their movements, also controlled their behavior.

In Savage Africa, an 1892 book by E.J. Glave (who was “one of Stanley’s pioneer officers”), tells us more about such devices:

At every village bands of slaves were offered for sale; it would be difficult to give a truthful picture of the suffering endured by the captives in this region.   
...
Others sit from day to day with their legs and arms maintained in a fixed position by rudely constructed stocks, and each slave is secured to the roof-posts by a cord knotted to a cane ring which either encircles his neck or is intertwined with his wooly hair.  Many die of pure starvation, as the owners give them barely enough food to exist upon, and even grudge them that.  These hungry creatures form indeed a truly pitiable sight... (Glave, at page 190.)

Click on the image for a closer view.


Media Credits

Image - entitled “Slave-Shed” - from E.J. Glave, The Slave-Trade in the Congo Basin.  Illustrated after sketches from life by the author (The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 1889-1890), vol. 39, pp. 824-838.  Online, as shown at Slavery Images (image reference C009) compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite, and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library.

 

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