Barco Negrero: The Oppression of a People

Barco Negrero (noun): Spanish word for Slave Ship. The horrors and severity of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, beginning as early as the 15th century, is a topic of history that is seldom discussed and often diluted. Over the course of the slave trade, roughly 20 million African people were captured and shipped to countries all over the world. The stories of the callous and inhumane treatment, capture, and enslavement of African people, that would lead to the continuous oppression of a people, are stories that need to be seen, heard, and forever remembered. 

The Transatlantic Slave Trade in Africa originated with Portuguese slave traders. Slave traders would capture the men, women, and children, chain them and make them walk to the coast.
Once captured, slaves were loaded onto ships and piled on top of each other, bound with chains. The inhospitable living quarters and inhumane treatment lead to the deaths and suicides of many slaves.
Slave traders would take slaves up to the deck of the boat to inspect them. The slaves traders would whip them and throw salt water on them to clean them. Those that were sick were thrown overboard.
During the slave trade, those captured were often separated from their children and family. Most of the time, people were sold to different plantations, never to see their families again.
To keep slaves from attempting to escape, slave owners instilled fear through punishment, intimidation and dependence. With fear, slave owners were less likely to lose profit and have slaves escape.
A man struggling with a Boa constrictor to exemplify the struggle that African slaves faced with oppression and the slave trade.
Although slave owners constantly instilled fear to keep slaves from thinking about escaping, many slaves tried to flee to northern states to become free.
Slave owners tracked escaped slaves using horses and dogs. Since majority of slaves had to flee by foot, few of them successfully escaped. Captured slaves faced deadly consequences.
Despite enslavement and oppression, some slaves managed to escape and become free. This sculpture depicts Seid Enkess who was a former French slave that became free and began to model.
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