After being marched to slave forts, having to get their heads shaved to prevent lice, and being branded, they were packed onto ships to sail to the Americas. An estimate of 20 percent of them died. Then to add on, many captains were “tight packers,” which meant they crammed as many slaves as they could below deck. Since there wasn’t the best sanitation many died from the dieses, and some were thrown overboard because they were sick. Also, to prove that their slaves were purchased they cut off the ears of the slaves. The period of the voyage that was about four weeks to six months was called the middle passage. During which in fear of further suffering the slaves would commit suicide or starve themselves. Those who survived were dehumanized, treated like cargo. After they got to the Americas and what happened to the slaves after is fairly well known. They were groups and treated poorly. They lived in unbearable conditions and was fed like animals. In those colonial times, the rules were different and allowed white to use brutal methods on slaves such as being whipped, branded, shackled, or sold away.
The book that I choose to read about is called Ama, A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade. In the book it is a story about a girl named Ama or “One-eye” first wrestles her interest as a child thinking her rural African customs. She desires more answers than everyone can provide. She suffers one misfortune after another. Being captured through slave buyers from her home, sold again and again once more until she lands on some other continent. beginning out as Nandzi, Ama manages to match in wherever lifestyles takes her, succumbing to unwanted sexual interest from her captors and masters along the way. She battles the improbable infatuation of young chiefs and fellow slaves, settles for the most unlikely romantic arrangement with some over-the-hill governor and time and again resorts to expedient transactional sex, while longing for the actual love she can never have. Survival is the only apparent purpose for everything Ama does, and she constantly ends up paying the price. She learns several languages, dabbles in some foreign spiritual practices to get by, imbibing as much understanding as she gives. Ama gets bruised by her lifelong conflict to break the chains of slavery, plotting an escape after another, getting many people into trouble each time with her critical stunts, mostly herself. In time, you learn that her reason is noble and that she only wants to escape the horrors of slavery.