The Slave Narrative as told by Goree Island guides – what is happening now?
By: Guyana -born Muriel Glasgow, now resident in New York – June 2011
Many of us have an understanding about the Slave Trade and the Slave Routes. I thought I did, but despite the fact that I visited slave houses on Goree Island in Senegal as well as castles in Ghana and listened to the guided narrative, it was not until this time on Goree Island last week, that I was able to separate emotions from overcoming my ability to listen dispassionately.
And this is what I heard –
- Africans rounded up families and brought them to the Goree Island to be sold. (I no longer was lost in the why of this)
- Upon arrival at the slave house, the families were separated – Men to their cells, women to their cells, children 6-17 years old to their cells.
- Children under 6 years old were killed/eliminated as there was no room on the slave ship for unproductive groups; men under 60 kg in weight fitted this category and they were also gotten rid of.
The able-bodied men 60kg and over were shipped off to Louisiana; the women were sent to Cuba, Brazil; the children 6-17 sent to Haiti and the West Indies. This was the Goree Island narrative. Other slave house narratives might speak of different landing points.
What intrigued me during this visit was the plight of the under-sixes and of the women, for any woman arriving pregnant to the slave house was sent back to the village. If a woman was impregnated by the colonials, she was also sent back to the villages.
The plight of women and the under six population exists to this day – the under six population is also seen as unproductive and investments are not made or seem to be overlooked as regards their education, development, well being.
This is where I believe that countries should be focusing their investment dollars if they are to win the future in education as President Obama alludes to.
If they are to develop a cohort from the under-six population from which scientists, technologists, engineers, mathematicians, could derive instead of offering up the usual fare of delinquents, street children, fodder for the prison population, or limiting their scope of possibility to athletics and entertainment.
Children on Slave Ship:Most of those who were transported to the “New World” from Africa via the Middle Passage were under 16 years of age.
I would like to suggest that the Guyana Cultural Association of New York (GCA), begin a series on our history, to help us in eliminating the pain from the memory and replacing pain with strategy as we go forward to create a better world, culturally, for the legacy of Guyana’s children.
This is a link below I would like to share which gives a somewhat balanced view of the earlier history. We also need to be able to separate the narratives told by white historians and the narratives told by black historians; somewhere in the middle lies the truth. We need to read and understand both sides of the historical narrative to act strategically.
http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon+1/zinncolorline.html a book written by Zinn, parts of which could be read online.
THEN AND NOW
That was then, what is happening now?
These days there is modern day slavery click on link below – and the children are still the disadvantaged. Think of the cocoa you drink and the hands and backs that toiled to produce it.
Concerns grow for slave ship children
by BARBARA JONES, Daily Mail
At least 300 children are facing an agonising death on an overcrowded ‘slave ship’, aid agencies fear.
They say scores may already have died in atrocious conditions aboard the small, rusting Etireno, which left Benin in West Africa a week ago.
The ship was turned away from Cameroon, where the children aged only ten and 11 were to become slaves on cocoa plantations, and neighbouring Gabon.
Its captain, Staneslas Abatan, knows he faces arrest if he returns to Benin. Aid workers believe he plans to stay out in the Gulf of Guinea until all the children are dead, and there is no evidence left of his trafficking.
Those who are not killed by lack of food and water may simply be thrown overboard alive. The ship was carrying at least 300 children when it left Benin, but witnesses who saw it off Gabon late last week say there were already far fewer.
The journey to Cameroon normally takes only two days and it is unlikely there would have been food or water on board for much longer.
The voyage of the Etireno and its pitiful human cargo starkly demonstrates the failure of international efforts to stamp out child slavery in West and Central Africa.
The children on board would have joined thousands of others working 12-hour days carrying heavy sacks of cocoa beans or toiling in the…
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-38622/Concerns-grow-slave-ship-children.html#ixzz1Q77OM9fR
Contact: Muriel Glasgow, MPH